Saturday Jan 22, 2022. 12:00
Tunisia will look for a change of fortune at the Africa Cup of Nations when they face fellow heavyweights Nigeria in a Round of 16 clash, set for the Roumde Adjia Stadium in Garoua on the evening of Sunday 23 January, kick-off at 21:00 CAT.
Tunisia have endured rotten luck at the AFCON, suffering from diabolical refereeing in their 1-0 loss to Mali and being hit by a wave of Covid-19 infections ahead of their defeat by the same score at the hands of Gambia on Thursday.
Yet the Carthage Eagles did show their class in between the two losses, crushing Mauritania 4-0 – a big win which ended up being key in advancing from Group F as one of the top-ranked third-place finishers.
It’s been a tough tournament for the North African thus far, but the unpredictability of knockout football gives them a shot at what would be an upset win come Sunday night.
“I keep complete confidence in my players despite the difficulty of the situation,” said Kebaier.
Nigeria, by contrast, have been the pick of the teams at the AFCON thus far, recording a clean sweep of three wins over Egypt, Sudan and Guinea-Bissau to top Group D.
The Super Eagles are flying high under the leadership of interim coach Augustine Eguavoen, who has urged his charges not to take anything for granted now that the tournament is at its do-or-die stage.
“Now, people are thinking and starting to respect Nigeria,” said Eguavoen. “We will always respect our opponents, we will play them with full strength and we will play them the way we play with anybody.”
In head-to-head stats, Nigeria and Tunisia have met in 20 matches across all competitions since their first clash back in 1961. Both the Super Eagles and the Carthage Eagles have claimed six wins in the rivalry, while eight games have been drawn.
The teams last met in an international friendly, in Austria in October 2020, which ended in a 1-1 draw thanks to goals from Kelechi Iheanacho and Mohamed Drager.