The Super Eagles set up a tricky test against the Palancas Negras in the last eight following a comfortable 2-0 victory over neighbours Cameroon in the previous round.
However, Jose Peseiro and many Nigerian supporters endured a bitter-sweet feeling after goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali limped off 10 minutes before the end of the game against the Indomitable Lions.
The Chippa United shot-stopper has been Peseiro’s first-choice at the AFCON, having usurped Francis Uzoho, and has impressed so far with his aerial command and defensive organisation.
Nwabali, Troost-Ekong in line to start against Angola
Stand-in captain William Troost-Ekong is another player whose fitness remains a source of worry despite playing the full throttle against Cameroon last time out.
The 30-year-old centre-back suffered a hamstring injury in Nigeria’s second group game against the Ivory Coast and subsequently missed his country’s final group match against Guinea-Bissau.
However, he recovered in time to play through the pain against Cameroon, leading to questions over whether he had aggravated his injury.
The latest news concerning the fitness of Nwabali and Troost-Ekong is that both players have been cleared to feature against Angola in the quarter-finals on Friday, February 2.
According to All Nigeria Soccer, Nwabali’s ligament injury is not as bad as first feared and the goalkeeper was observed when he returned to mild training during the week, after which he has now received the green light to face Angola.
In Troost-Ekong’s case, the Super Eagles medics are said to have assessed him and given him the all-clear to be available for selection against the Palancas Negras.
Peseiro wary of Angola as Super Eagles opponent
Meanwhile, Nigeria coach Peseiro believes the quarter-final game against Angola will be a tough one for his side. Angola remain the highest scorers at AFCON and boast a very potent attack.
Addressing reporters ahead of the important match, the Portuguese said the Super Eagles were ready and called on his players to step up to the challenge.
“We are ready for the quarter-finals, we will have more training, more practice before the game. We will give our best against them,” said Peseiro.
“My players work well in training today (on Monday). They have recovered well. We will do our best in training. We are going to face a tough team. We need to do our best to beat them.”
The Nigeria vs Angola game will be played at the Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium in Abidjan.