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Afcon 2019: Nigeria’s ‘easy’ group isn’t as easy as it looks…

It is hard not to picture Gernot Rohr, an impish smile lurking beneath his serious visage, doing all he can to restrain himself from rubbing his hands in Grinch-like glee as he contemplated the kind draw for his side at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.

Rohr could not have asked for a more favourable group if he had stood on the podium and dipped his hands into the bowl himself. Guinea, Madagascar, and Burundi are as good as he, or any other Nigerian, could have hoped for going into the ceremony on Friday night, under the shadow of the legendary Sphinx.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

Straightforward as the group may look, it likely won’t be the case. The last time Nigeria were at the Nations Cup, they also had an easy draw. With Burkina Faso, Zambia, and Ethiopia to face, and they barely managed to scrape through on 5 points out of an available 9. To be fair, they did go on to win the tournament.6

The German was practically preening as he attempted to keep his eye on the details on Friday. “It would be a great showpiece of football but it is important for our players to avoid injuries as the season heads towards the end,” he told ESPN.

But as is always form with the Nigeria coach, he was quick to advise caution: “It is a tough group and we have to be at our best and our fittest.
Skipper Ahmed Musa also toed the same line: “I think it is a tough group for the Super Eagles. It is important for us to stay fit and avoid injuries so that everyone would be in great shape in Egypt.

“We have a young team who have played at the World Cup but have not played at the Afcon. For me, we are ready for any country in Egypt. It would be an interesting experience.”cheap nike nfl jerseys free shipping

Both men are wise to advise caution. Both Guinea and Madagascar will throw up bad memories for the Super Eagles. All three were in the same group for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

During that series, which was the last time the Super Eagles met either side, interim coach Austin Eguavoen’s side lost 1-0 in the first leg of the qualifiers in Conakry.