With the Eagles already through to the second round as Group D leaders, there is a high probability that Coach Augustine Eguavoen will make some changes to the starting 11 as he seeks to give some minutes to some players, whilst resting some of the players that have had full involvement in the victories over Egypt and Sudan.
With 28 players registered for the tournament, it is a possibility that Eguavoen can wholesale changes, which could mean all the 11 who started the first two matches could be rested, but the advice will be that he does not go down that route.
The Eagles did not have enough of a training camp before the commencement of AFCON, and the two matches have been about the players feeling themselves out, especially the central defensive pairing of William Troost-Ekong and Kenneth Omeruo. That partnership should continue so as to enhance their chemistry.
But of a necessity, these are three players that need a rest.
One player who has played all 90 minutes is Ndidi and just like when he is with Leicester City; he is almost never substituted. Though the combative midfielder has been injured in action for the Foxes in the EPL, it will be expedient that he is given a rest after playing the two earlier matches. He has won the second-most tackles for the Eagles, after Joe Aribo, with five and has had the most touches, with 155.
Simon has, indisputably, been the star turn for the Super Eagles, showing the total repertoire of his skill set. We always knew he could perform like this, but under Gernot Rohr, his dependability was more on the show and not his offensive brilliance.
To perform consistently at that high level needs a great deal of energy and in and out runs on that left flank. He has also been heavily involved with the defensive side by putting in a shift with two tackles and 92 touches of the ball.
Aina did not make any successful tackle against Sudan but he made a team-high six against the Pharaohs of Egypt. He has also proved to be a veritable offensive outlet and should have had at least an assist in the tournament. Normally lackadaisical in Eagles’ colours, Aina has shown a fighting spirit and doggedness that has surprised many. A rest will do him a lot of good.
Head-to-head at AFCON
We will continue to work. We respect our opponents and will continue on the same path. We must improve and take advantage of opportunities and score more goals. There will be changes in the squad, but we will not underestimate the match. All the players here are able to participate and represent Nigeria strongly. – Agustin Eguavoen, Nigeria Manager
The match will be difficult, but it is important to get three points if we are to continue competing. We know Nigeria are a strong team, but we are well prepared, and we will play to win. We have to believe in our ability and fight for what we believe in because this is football. – Baciro Cande, Guinea Bissau Manager
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