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Profiling the AFCON teams: Nigeria

Nigeria has won three AFCON titles. (PHOTOS/AGENCIES)

Nigeria will be featuring in only their 18th Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament and their first since 2013. They have won the tournament on three occasions with the last triumph coming in South Africa 2013.

In the 2019 edition, Nigeria is in Group B alongside Guinea, Madagascar and Burundi.

Nigeria were not part of the first two AFCON editions (1957 and 1959).

They first took part in the qualifiers in 1962 but withdrew. Their first appearance at the finals came in 1963, when they were drawn in a group with Sudan and United Arab Republic, exiting the competition at the Group stages.

For the next edition in 63, Nigeria withdrew, failed to qualify for the 65 finals and once again withdrew from qualification for the 1968 tournament.

For the 1972 and 74 editions, the Super Eagles failed to negotiate through the qualification process.

However, they would come back stronger in both the 76 and 78 tournaments, finishing third in the two editions.

Nigeria hosted the 1980 AFCON and also won their first title that year, defeating Algeria 3-0 in the final played in Lagos.

The following edition was one to forget for Nigeria as they failed to get of the group containing Algeria, Tunisia and Zambia. At the finals, they drew two games and lost the other to finish third in Group B.

However, they went ahead to finish second in the 1984 edition in Ivory Coast, losing 3-1 to Cameroon in the final.

After failing to qualify for the 86 tournament in Morocco, Nigeria once again finished second in the next two tournaments. They lost 1-0 to Cameroon in the final of 88 and once again lost by the same score line in the penultimate game of the 1990 AFCON to hosts Algeria.

In 1992 in Senegal, Nigeria failed to make it to the final for the first time in the last three editions as they were beaten 2-1 by Ghana. However, they defeated Cameroon 2-1 in the third-place playoff game to clinch third.

Nigeria’s second AFCON title would eventually come in Tunisia 94. After finishing second in Group B which featured Egypt and Gabon, the Super Eagles went on to dispatch both Zaire and Ivory Coast in the quarter and semifinal respectively. In the final, Emmanuel Amunike’s brace helped Nigeria defeat Zambia 2-1.

Disaster struck in the next edition as the Red Eagles failed to qualify for the finals’ tournament. They would also not feature at the 1998 edition as they were banned.

Their next appearance came at the 2000 edition which they hosted alongside Ghana. Nigeria breezed through the Group stages with 7 points, overcame Senegal in the quarters and then beat South Africa 2-0 in the semis. The finals were a disappoint as the Red Eagles lost to Cameroon on penalties following a 2-2 draw after extra time.

For the 2002, 2004 and 2006, Nigeria finished third after falling in the semifinals on all three occasions. In the three semis, they lost to Senegal, Tunisia and Ivory Coast.

Nigeria finished 3rd in three successive AFCONs between 2002 and 2006.

As Nigeria bid to win a third AFCON, they returned in 2008. They finished as runners ups to Ivory Coast in Group B but went on to exit the competition at the quarter final stage after falling 1-2 to Ghana.

In the 2010 edition, Nigeria would once again finish 3rd in the competition after losing 0-1 to Ghana in the semis and going on to defeat Algeria by the same score line in the third-place playoff game. Nigeria had earlier finished second to Egypt in Group C and then defeating Zambia in the quarter finals.

In 2012, the Super Eagles failed to qualify for the finals tournament which was defined as a national disaster.

Their 3rd title would eventually come in 2013 after defeating Burkina Faso 1-0 in the final played in Johannesburg. Earlier in the tournament, Nigeria finished second in Group C which featured Burkina Faso, Zambia and Ethiopia. They went on to defeat Ivory Coast 2-1 in the quarters and also overcame Mali 4-1 in the semis.

After the 2013 edition, the Super Eagles failed to qualify for the 2015 and 2017 editions.

Coach

Gernot Rohr

65 year oldRohr is a German manager and former footballer who has been the Nigeria head coach since 2016. He has been coach at 11 sides including 7 clubs and 4 national teams.

Rohr has been Nigeria’s head coach since 2016.

He started out at Bordeaux in 1991, a side that he managed on three different spells. As a national team coach, he has been head coach for Niger, Gabon and Burkina Faso.

He was shortlisted for the Guinea national team job in July 2016 but was not given the job. In August 2016, he was named manager of the Nigeria. He won his first game in charge of the Nigerian national team, defeating Tanzania by a lone goal in. He lost his first match on 10 June as Nigerian senior coach after a 2–0 home loss to South Africa.

On 7 October 2017, his Nigeria-led team became the first African side to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup after a 1–0 win against Zambia.

Star Player

Alex Iwobi

Iwobi is a 23 year old winger who plays for Premier League side Arsenal FC. He is a nephew to Nigerian ledend Jay Jay Okocha and has played at Arsenal since he was 14.

Iwobi has played 149 games for his club scoring 15 goals and has featured for Nigeria in 27 games, scoring 7 goals.

Iwobi has scored 7 goals for Nigeria.

Projection: Quarter Finals

Nigeria Fixtures at AFCON 2019

-Nigeria vs Burundi, 22nd June

-Guinea vs Nigeria, 26th June

-Madagascar vs Nigeria, 30th June

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