Unless there is a catastrophic sequence of results on Tuesday evening, Nigeria’s Super Eagles have qualified for the quarter finals of the 2018 African Nations Championship in Morocco.
Salisu Yusuf’s Eagles face Equatorial Guinea at 7pm local time in Agadir, same time joint group leaders Rwanda will face Libya in Tangier. Three teams: Nigeria, Rwanda and Libya will pick the two slots from Group C to the quarter final stage.
In fact, with the way the fixtures are planned, Nigeria’s Super Eagles are 90% guaranteed of a place in the next round, backed by the Confederation of African Football (CAF)’s proritizing of the ‘Head to Head’ rule above ‘Goals Difference’ this according to Article 14.1.1. of the competition’s regulation.
Rwanda going toe to toe with Libya is another veritable advantage as both teams know they must avoid defeat at the very least should they progress to the next round.
Here is the calculated premises considering all possible outcomes in tonight’s games:
– Nigeria victory and Rwanda victory
This is the easiest calculation which means both winners will go through while the group winners will be decided based on goals difference.
– Nigeria draw and Rwanda draw
This outcome will also mean that both Nigeria and Rwanda go through on five points apiece. The group winner will be decided based on the nature of today’s draws (goalless or score draw), team with the most goals go through but if it remains same, a lot will be drawn to decide the group winner.
– Nigeria loss and Rwanda win
This means Nigeria will go through in second place behind Libya who would have amassed three points from three games. Nigeria already have four.
– Nigeria draw and Rwanda loss
This means Nigeria will go through with five points behind Libya who would have had six points as a result of the win over Rwanda
– Nigeria loss and Rwanda loss
This is the only permutation where Nigeria have ‘a chance of not progressing’. This outcome means that Libya will top the group on six points while the team that go through in second place will be the one with the tightest loss between Nigeria and Rwanda.
This is because both teams are tied on head to head. If both teams lose by the same score line, then a lot will be drawn to determine who goes through.
Prediction: Looking at the strength of the teams and how they have performed in the competition so far, it is relatively easy for me to predict that both Nigeria and Libya will win tonight.
So, I expect Nigeria to return to Tangier as group winners with seven points while Libya will go through as second and embark on a tiring trip to Agadir.
Fisayo Dairo reporting from Agadir, Morocco