By Clarkson Ogo
The Super Eagles got their quest for a fourth Afcon crown off to the perfect start with a hard fought 1-0 win over Burundi this past weekend.
Victory moved the West African’s top of Group B and in pole position heading into their second round clash against the Syli Nationale on the Mediterranean coastline.
Guinea, who started captain and Liverpool midfielder Naby Keita on the bench as he continues his recovery from a hamstring injury, could only conjure a draw against Madagascar at the same venue on Saturday evening.
Francois Kamano scored from the spot to rescue a point for Guinea who are favourites to advance as among the top two teams in the group alongside Nigeria.
The Super Eagles didn’t have it all their own way against Burundi and it took a moment of magic by Ola Aina to split the Swallows defence and tee up Odion Ighalo who continued from where he left off in the qualifiers.
“The Nigerian supporters are happy that we won the match, and it’s good to win the first match, it’s never easy,” said Nigeria head coach Gernot Rohr.
“The second match will also be difficult against a wonderful team of Guinea, and the third one, Madagascar, is nothing to lose. We will try to give our best and I think it’s good to start slowly and we come higher and higher.”
Nigeria are the third highest ranked team on the continent – 45th in the world – and 26 places above their opponents.