AFCON 2024: Osimhen anticipates tough Guinea-Bissau test

Nigeria striker Victor Osimhen believes despite the Super Eagles’ triumph over the Ivory Coast in the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON 2024), their final group game against Guinea-Bissau won’t be easy.

The Napoli star played a key role in the victory against the hosts by winning a penalty that William Troost-Ekong converted to send Nigeria joint-top of Group A.

Despite being forced to a tactical switch due to injuries, Jose Peseiro’s side put up a spirited performance and managed to contain tournament hosts.

Victor Osimhen at AFCON 2024
Photo by Icon Sport

Osimhen foresees tough AFCON 2O24 test

Nigeria will now turn attention to Guinea-Bissau on Monday, January 22, as they aim to finish at the top of Group A.

Osimhen, who has one goal in the AFCON so far, said he and his teammates are targeting another strong performance against the Djurtus to conclude the group phase on a high.

The current CAF Footballer of the Year cited Nigeria’s defeat to Guinea-Bissau in the AFCON qualifiers last year and said they cannot be underrated.

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Photo by Icon Sport

“We aim for a strong performance against Guinea-Bissau. They will undoubtedly approach the game with determination, and we won’t underestimate any team, considering what they’ve done to qualify,” Osimhen said, as quoted by The Guardian NG.

“We met them in the qualifiers and know how strong they are. They defeated us at home, while we also beat them away. So, we are expecting a tough game against them. We will do our best to win.”

Peseiro urges focus ahead of Guinea-Bissau game

Meanwhile, Nigeria's head coach has called on his players to remain grounded as they prepare to take on Guinea Bissau in their final Group A game.

The Portuguese tactician devised a shrewd tactical plan, which worked to perfection as the Super Eagles chalked their first-ever win on Ivorian soil.

Peseiro described the victory over the Elephants as excellent, while also praising his side for working hard to execute his strategic plan on the pitch. Although Guinea-Bissau are not as feared as the AFCON hosts, Peseiro warned his boys to focus, train hard and have enough rest ahead of the clash against the Djurtus.

“Yesterday we won an excellent match against Côte d’Ivoire, supported by a strategic plan that was impeccably executed, by the quality, intelligence, determination and mutual help of our boys,” the Super Eagles boss revelled in a post on X (formerly Twitter).

“It’s up to us to keep our focus on training, rest, and nutrition in order to beat Guinea Bissau.”

Nigeria are well aware of the threat posed by Guinea-Bissau, who have recorded some giant results in recent times. Aside from upsetting Nigeria in an away AFCON qualifier in 2023, they also held Burkina Faso to a 1-1 draw in a 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifier last November.

The Djurtus have, however, failed to win any of their last three matches, including losing each of their two games at the AFCON so far. Baciro Cande’s side has also conceded the most goals in the tournament thus far, having lost 2-0 in their opening game against Ivory Coast before suffering a 4-2 thrashing at the hands of Equatorial Guinea.

If their dreadful form in the AFCON is anything to go by, then Nigeria’s sharp attack, led by Osimhen, could be in for a goal-fest. Peseiro, though, is cautious and keeping his team grounded and hungry ahead of Monday’s game.  

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Emmanuel Ayamga

Emmanuel Ayamga is an African sports writer, with bylines on DW, Al Jazeera, World Soccer Magazine and These Football Times.