The three-time champions, Nigeria, begin their AFCON journey with a feisty encounter against Equatorial Guinea. The Super Eagles will need to navigate their group, having one of the best attacking squads at this edition of the tournament.

To win (90 min)
 Nigeria 9/20
 Draw 26/10
 Equatorial Guinea 6/1


The Super Eagles of Nigeria lost 2-0 in a friendly game on Monday against Guinea in preparation for the 2023 African Cup of Nations. With the tournament scheduled to start just a few days later, that loss could not have come at a worse time. 

Napoli striker and CAF’s 2023 African Player of the Year, Victor Osimhen and Bayer Leverkusen talisman Victor Boniface, played no part in that defeat. The duo will be well rested ahead of their AFCON opener and I back them to get on the scoresheet!

Nigerians all over the world will be hopeful of a positive outcome for their national team. The Super Eagles have a strong, star studded squad. Goalkeeper Francis Uzoho is a commanding figure between the sticks. The formidable squad featuring players like Ahmed Musa, Frank Onyeka, Samuel Chukwueze, Zaidu Sanusi, Simon Moses and a host of others means that they enter the tournament as a favority.

Displaying impressive teamwork, Peseiro’s troops reportedly showcased exceptional teamwork and dominance throughout the qualifiers. Afterall, it was Osimhen who top scored during qualifying, with ten strikes to his name – the only player to post double digit figures in qualifying.


Equatorial Guinea have a largely experienced squad, of disciplined players who know how to get the job done. Despite this, qualifying from a group that has the host nation, Ivory Coast, and heavy weights, Nigeria, will make even the most ardent of supporters weary.

It will come down to the direct result against the two aforementioned nations, if Equatorial Guinea are to stage an upset of note. After being battered 4 nil by Tunisia back in 2022 during their opening AFCON qualifier, the National Thunder steadied the ship to go undefeated across their ensuing five fixtures – a run that includes four wins.             

Their relatively inexperienced attackers, seldomly claim the headlines, however, add back to back wins in the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers to that strong run of results and we just may have a game on our hands! Moreover, those World Cup qualifier victories included back to back clean sheets …

In terms of head to head, Equatorial Guinea have got nothing to show for their previous three competitive encounters with Nigeria, with the most recent result being a 3-1 defeat. I feel it could be more of the same in this one.


The ball is round, the result can go either way on the day depending on the mentality. With that being said, Nigeria boasts a squad to be feared by just about all nations at the tournament. In this one, I can’t see Uzoho being tested that often against an unflattering attack. Nigeria will win this game comfortably and throw down the gauntlet in Group A. 

Written by Desh Parthab