Nigeria hope to end their 10-year trophy drought at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.
The Super Eagles, whose third continental success came a decade ago, have been drawn into Group A alongside hosts Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea and Guinea-Bissau.
2023 Africa Cup of Nations Group Stage
|Nigeria vs Equatorial Guinea
|Alassane Ouattara Stadium
|14 January, 2pm (UK time)
|Ivory Coast vs Nigeria
|Alassane Ouattara Stadium
|18 January, 5pm (UK time)
|Guinea-Bissau vs Nigeria
|Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium
|22 January, 5pm (UK time)
Nigeria tactical analysis & formation at the Africa Cup of Nations
Since being installed as Nigeria’s head coach, José Peseiro has overseen 14 international matches, winning six and losing five alongside three draws. From a tactical perspective, Peseiro has predominantly used a 4-4-2 formation, although he started with a back-three. Utilising this shape has allowed Peseiro to fill his attack with four forwards with Kelechi Iheanacho, Ademola Lookman, Victor Boniface and Taiwo Awoniyi all starting in a recent 1-1 draw with Lesotho.
Nottingham Forest striker Awoniyi will not be available for selection, and Boniface has had to pull out injured too. But Victor Osimhen is a guaranteed starter with Umar Sadiq and Terem Moffi fighting to partner Napoli’s feared marksman. Although the Super Eagles reverted to a more commonly used 4-3-3 last time out, the expectation is that Nigeria will go back to what has got them this far.
Nigeria players to watch at this year’s Africa Cup of Nations
Nigeria Africa Cup of Nations Golden Boot contenders – Victor Osimhen
Between the last Africa Cup of Nations and this tournament, Victor Osimhen — the first Nigerian to be named African Footballer of the Year since Nwankwo Kanu in 1999 — ascended to a whole new level. He scored 26 goals across 32 matches for Napoli in their 2022/23 league winning campaign, subsequently becoming hot property and considered among the more feared strikers playing today. He’s also scored a healthy 20 goals in 27 outings for Nigeria and while none have come at AFCON, he made just one appearance at the 2019 tournament.
Osimhen, who is 8/1 to win the Golden Boot with bet365, will fancy breaking his duck when Nigeria face Equatorial Guinea on January 14.
Nigeria player to watch – Raphael Onyedika
Nigeria’s most outstanding and difference-making players are their forwards, but any chance of success rests on deploying a well-balanced side. Peseiro’s team are missing influential defensive midfielder Wilfred Ndidi, who has played 54 international matches to date, but his absence could be Raphael Onyedika’s gain.
The 22-year-old Club Brugge midfielder, currently linked with a move to Turkish powerhouse Galatasaray, could see minutes in this year’s tournament. To date, Onyedika has won three caps and can play in a double pivot, as the right-footed defensive midfielder, which Peseiro is likely to use.
Confirmed Nigeria Africa Cup of Nations squad
Where are Nigeria in the FIFA world rankings?
Nigeria are currently 42nd in the FIFA world rankings with Panama ahead of them and Romania behind.
Who is the Nigeria manager?
José Peseiro was named Nigeria manager in December 2021, replacing interim boss Augustine Eguavoen.
Who is the current Nigeria captain?
Moses Simon is the Nigeria captain, he was first handed the armband at São Tomé and Príncipe in June 2022.
How many times have Nigeria won the Africa Cup of Nations?
Nigeria have won the Africa Cup of Nations on three occasions (1980, 1994, 2013).
How many times have Nigeria competed in the Africa Cup of Nations?
Making their first appearance in 1963, Nigeria have been involved in 20 Africa Cup of Nations including the 2023 edition.
Who has scored Nigeria’s most goals in Africa Cup of Nations tournaments?
Rashidi Yekini is Nigeria’s top scorer at Africa Cup of Nations tournaments, netting 13 goals between 1988 and 1994.