As the Africa Cup of Nations progresses, the much-awaited quarterfinal showdown is set between the Super Eagles of Nigeria and Angola’s Palancas Negras at the Stade Felix Houphouet-Boigny. Jokanola Bolaji previews the game on platinumnewsng.com
Going into this game, Nigeria has a strong track record of advancing from nine out of their last ten quarterfinal matches, facing an Angolan team that, despite historically never moving past this stage, has shown impressive form and potential for an upset in Ivory Coast.
Nigeria’s coach, Jose Peseiro, acknowledged the challenge ahead, stating the need for commitment and sacrifice to secure a victory against Angola, a team he respects for its skill and capability. The Super Eagles, having netted five goals across four matches, plan to continue their balanced approach of attacking and defending as a unified team.
“It’s a quarterfinal match. Both teams want to reach the semifinals. It will be a tough match; we will bring commitment and sacrifice to try to overcome this great team, even if it’s not a big name, to reach the semifinal,” Peseiro said in his pre-match conference.
Midfielder Alex Iwobi, recognizing the strength of the Angolan team, expressed his reliance on the team’s ability to face the challenge, while showing respect for Angola’s achievement in reaching this stage.
“We have to respect Angola a lot. If they are at this stage of the competition, it means they are a great team. We need the entire team to defend. It won’t be easy because it’s a team that scores a lot. I rely on my teammates to meet the challenge.” Iwobi noted.
On the other side, Angola’s coach, Pedro Gonçalves, and midfielder Manuel Luís da Silva Cafumana expressed their determination to make history and prove their team’s worth at this crucial stage.
Gonçalves praised his team’s dedication and evolution, seizing the opportunity to face Nigeria, a team celebrated for its achievements in African football and the presence of players in major European leagues.
“This match means a lot for our team and for the entire Angolan nation, which has dreamed for years of seeing the team at this stage of the competition. We will face Nigeria, a great nation in African football.
“This match is an opportunity to show our worth; we have worked and given our all to reach this level of the competition. I congratulate my team, which has always been dedicated. The match is an opportunity to show that we have evolved,” Gonçalves said.
“We respect Nigeria for what they have demonstrated so far in African football. Currently, Nigeria has a very strong team with players who play in major European leagues, such as the Premier League and Serie A. They use the best playing system to compete in this Africa Cup of Nations.”
Silva Cafumana conveyed the team’s pride and resolve to continue their fight in the tournament, representing their country with pride.
“We will have a match that will allow us to prove ourselves. I am proud of what we have accomplished since the beginning and especially the pride that we currently represent for our country,” Silva Cafumana said.
“We will fight against Nigeria as we did in the first four matches.”
By 6pm Nigerian time the enthralling clash is expected to have begun. Only one winner can be decided at the end but these teams have hurdles to overcome.
Nigeria’s Super Eagles, fresh from surpassing their AFCON 2021 performance by defeating Cameroon, face Angola’s Palancas Negras, who made history with their first knockout stage victory against Namibia.
Nigeria grapples with key player uncertainties, including goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali’s injury concern and vice-captain William Troost-Ekong’s thigh injury, potentially impacting their lineup. Despite these challenges, Nigeria’s strong attack, featuring Osimhen, Lookman, and Moses Simon, is expected to lead their offensive strategy under Peseiro’s guidance.
Angola, missing Neblu due to suspension, will rely on contributions of Mabululu, Dala, Fredy’s assists, and Gilberto’s unpredictable play to challenge the Super Eagles.