Mohamed Salah, in productive structure for Liverpool this season, will lead Egypt against intruder group Nigeria in a blockbuster Group D opener at the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon. Get all the Afcon 2021 activity from SuperSport live on Showmax Pro from 9 January to 6 February.
Salah drives all scorers in the Premier League this season with 16 objectives, remembering one for the 2-2 draw with Chelsea on Sunday, his last match prior to leaving for West Africa.
Despite the fact that Egypt has won a record seven Cup of Nations titles, they have won just two times in seven conflicts with three-time champions Nigeria in the opposition in front of the January 11 standoff.
Here, AFP Sport puts the focus on the four Group D competitors. The gathering champs and other participants are guaranteed of last-16 spots while the best four third-put groups from the six gatherings likewise qualify.
The Pharaohs’ Portuguese mentor Carlos Queiroz has upheld Aston Villa forward Mahmoud ‘Trezeguet’ Hassan to sparkle at the Cup of Nations in spite of the fact that he has not played a full senior match since mid-April because of injury.
The 27-year-old was an unused substitute in three Premier League matches during December prior to falling off the seat for an appearance against Brentford.
“Trezeguet is an accomplished and great player,” previous Real Madrid director and two times Manchester United collaborator administrator Queiroz said. “I’m certain he will be a vital figure for us.”
Dissimilar to most Cameroon-bound groups, Egypt will depend vigorously on locally established stars, picking 19 and just six based abroad, including Salah and Arsenal midfielder Mohamed Elneny.
A tumultuous development for Nigeria has incorporated a difference in mentors, the passing of a star forward in light of the fact that they mentioned his delivery past the point of no return, and the withdrawal of a few central members because of Covid and wounds.
German Gernot Rohr was sacked later the Super Eagles scratched into the last round of 2022 World Cup qualifying and Augustine Eguavoen, who played for Nigeria at the 1994 World Cup, has been set in impermanent charge.
He should manage without in-structure Emmanuel Dennis in light of the fact that Premier League club Watford says Nigeria didn’t read them in time that they were choosing him, and Covid has precluded one more ordinary scorer, Victor Osimhen of Italian club Napoli.
In any case, Nigeria is never riskier than when everything appears to be lost. They have a crew fit for winning the Cup of Nations or making an embarrassing last-16 exit.
The Djurtus (wild canines), for quite a long time an African football lightweight, have arrived at the finals a third successive time under mentor Baciro Cande.
Abrasive contenders in qualifiers, the West Africans have battled at the more significant level of the finals, getting only one point from each past appearance.
In any case, a group skippered by goalkeeper Jonas Mendes will be confident of a first success when they start against Sudan, a country they pounded 4-2 in a World Cup qualifier in Omdurman last September.
Mendes and advances Piqueti and Frederic Mendy were essential for the 2017 and 2019 missions and Porto full-back Nanu and midfielder Moreto Cassama, from French Ligue 1 club Reims, are likely stars.
Once advocate Sudan are back following 10-year nonattendance having utilized ethereal ability to disturb South Africa in a key qualifier.
The Jediane Falcons arrived at the 2012 quarterfinals, however, it is hard to envision them rehashing that accomplishment under new mentor Burhan Tia.
He succeeded Frenchman Hubert Velud, who took care of winless World Cup and Arab Cup bunch crusades.
Salah-less Egypt pounded Sudan 5-0 in the Arab Cup while the odds of rehashing a 4-0 whipping of Nigeria in 1963 are skinny. That leaves Guinea-Bissau as the main sensible any expectation of a triumph.