Nigeria will begin her quest for a fourth African title in senior men’s football when the Super Eagles take to the field against the Itamba Ru Mugamba of Burundi at the 20,000 –capacity Alexandria Stadium on Saturday evening.
Burundi is making its first –ever appearance at African football’s top table while Egypt 2019 is Nigeria’s 18th attempt, with three titles, four silver medals and five bronze medals to show for her efforts.
Billed to also debate with Guinea and Madagascar on the green in Group B of the 32nd Africa Cup of Nations before the table of the knockout rounds, the Super Eagles know they must work out a great start to the campaign by taking all three points off Burundi, and captain Mikel John Obi told thenff.com that there is no reason to pull punches.
“There would have been no reason to come here if we were not going to go all out for the Cup. It is not something that is up for debate. Whenever we step out there, the objective is to win.
“The last time we appeared at the AFCON, we won the competition. There are several new players in our squad now, who were not in South Africa six years ago. But the spirit of the champion team still subsists.”
After lifting a third title in South Africa in 2013, Nigeria failed to qualify for the 2015 finals in Equatorial Guinea and the 2017 finals in Gabon, but made sure of a ticket to Egypt with a match to spare after beating Seychelles away, back-to-back wins over Libya and a score draw in South Africa.