The last group B match between the Super Eagles of Nigeria and the Barea of Madagascar billed for this evening at the Alexandria stadium in Alexandria, Egypt is a battle between the two topmost officials of the Confederation of African Football, CAF.
CAF president Ahmad is from Madagascar while the First Vice president, Amaju Melvin Pinnick who also doubles as the Chairman of the Organising Committee of the ongoing AFCON is Nigerian. Both men will leave their duties momentarily today to root for their respective countries.
There is also a love twist to the game. Coach Gernot Rohr’s wife is from the Indian Ocean island.
While Rohr and his wards are gunning to maintain their winning streak to record 100 percent from the group stage, Dupuis will charge his boys to push for at least a draw which is enough for them to sail through to the round of 16.
The Barea handler said after the victory against Burundi that the east Africans “gave us a tough time especially in the second half”, but he should expect a tougher time from the Eagles who are hoping to keep going until they pick their fourth AFCON title and the third time on an away soil.
Rohr may start Samuel Chukwueze and allow Odion Ighalo come in later like he did in the first game against Burundi while captain Mikel may start from the midfield to help slow down the Malagasy duo of Marco Ilaimaharita and Paolin Voavy who was fouled to give the southern Africans the resultant free-kick that led to their surprise lone goal against Guinea.
If the Super Eagles backline parading Kenneth Omeruo and William Troost-Ekong could hold on like they have done in the first two matches, the Malagasy players may find it difficult penetrating to cause any damage against Daniel Akpeyi who seems to be improving with every game.
The kick-off is 5p.m. Nigerian time and only 90 minutes will determine if the Eagles will record 100 percent or Madagascar can pull a draw that will see them through on four points irrespective of what Burundi and Guinea play.