Three-time African champions Nigeria Super Eagles kick-off their 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) participation with a potentially explosive fixture against the tournaments most successful national team, Egypt in group D on Tuesday in Cameroon.
Ahead of the Super Eagles’ 19th appearance at Africa’s flagship football competition, we take a look at some interesting statistics as it concerns the present selection.
- All-time record appearance holder Ahmed Musa’s first AFCON tournament as Nigeria’s captain. LEADER
- Interim coach Austin Eguavoen’s second managerial stint in-charge of the Super Eagles at the AFCON, 16 years after coaching the team in Egypt. EXPERIENCE
- Joe Aribo becomes the third player to wear the highly coveted number 10 jersey for Nigeria at the AFCON in the 21st century only after Austin Jay-Jay Okocha and John Obi Mikel. NEW DISPENSATION
- The number of last-minute replacements in the Super Eagles’ expanded squad to Cameroon. Tyronne Ebuehi, Semi Ajayi, Henry Onyekuru and Peter Olayinka. SURVIVORS
- Only five present Super Eagles have previously scored goals at the AFCON. Ahmed Musa, Kenneth Omeruo, William Troost-Ekong, Alex Iwobi and Samuel Chukwueze. FAMILIAR TERRAIN
- The number of England-based players in Nigeria’s team to Cameroon, the highest number pooled from one country. William Troost-Ekong, Semi Ajayi, Wilfred Ndidi, Frank Onyeka, Alex Iwobi and Kelechi Iheanacho. QUALITY
- The number of career games played in the competition’s history by midfield enforcer Wilfred Ndidi, all appearances made at the 2019 edition in Egypt. MR RELIABLE
- Since Nigeria’s first AFCON win in 1980, Frank Onyeka becomes the eighth midfielder to wear the number 8 at the competition for the Super Eagles. Muda Lawal, Samuel Okwaraji, Moses Kpakor, Thompson Oliha, Mutiu Adepoju, John Obi Mikel and Oghenekaro Etebo previously donned the jersey number. SUCCESSOR
- The number of registered defenders in Nigeria’s squad to the 2021 AFCON. WALL
- Since winning their second AFCON title in 1994, Nigeria have scored nine goals in their opening group-stage fixtures and are gunning for the tenth against the Pharaohs of Egypt. MILESTONE
11-13: Kelechi Iheanacho, Taiwo Awoniyi and Kelechi Nwakali become the 11th, 12th and 13th FIFA U17 World Cup winners to represent Nigeria at the AFCON. TREND
(Previous representatives: Nduka Ugbade, Jonathan Akpoborie, Baldwin Bazuaye, Nwankwo Kanu, Celestine Babayaro, Pascal Ojigwe, Wilson Oruma, Francis Uzoho, Victor Osimhen and Samuel Chukwueze)
14 – The number of players making their maiden Africa Cup of Nations tournament appearance for Nigeria. DEBUTANTS
By Dami Ugbane. Twitter @footiedami