The Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON 2024) has been full of upsets, with Morocco and Senegal being the latest giants to crash out of the competition.
However, Nigeria's Super Eagles have continued to live up to expectations, bar their opening day draw against Equatorial Guinea in Group A.
The likes of Ghana, Algeria, Tunisia and Zambia have all flattered to deceive after suffering surprise group-stage exits but there have been more shockers in the round of 16.
Seven-time champions Egypt were sent packing by DR Congo, just as Ivory Coast eliminated defending champions Senegal. South Africa also did one over Morocco via an impressive 2-0 victory.
Super Eagles now the highest-ranked team in AFCON 2024
The elimination of the aforementioned countries means Nigeria are now the highest-ranked team in the AFCON despite entering the tournament outside the top four
The Super Eagles went into AFCON ranked sixth on the continent, as per FIFA’s ranking of teams in the World.
This put Jose Peseiro’s side behind Morocco, Senegal, Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt. However, the exits of all the aforementioned countries have left Nigeria as the highest-ranked team in the ongoing tournament.
The only other teams in the top 10 rankings on the continent that are still in the tournament are Ivory Coast and Mali, who are ranked eighth and ninth, respectively, in Africa.
Peseiro cautions against complacency ahead of Angola clash
Meanwhile, Nigeria coach Peseiro has cautioned his players to be wary of underrating Angola ahead of their round of 16 clash.
Just like the Super Eagles, Angola are unbeaten at the AFCON and are the highest scorers in the tournament, having found the back of the net nine times in four matches.
The Palancas Negras also routed Namibia 3-0 in the last 16 to reach the quarter-finals and Peseiro believes there are no minnows at this stage.
“I am telling them that we are only in the last eight, that we still have some way to go, and that the farther we go, the tougher the opposition becomes. We have played four matches and won three, so we must keep level heads as we go forward,” the Portuguese told thenff.com.
“Our philosophy is that there are no small teams here at the Africa Cup. Every team qualified to be here, and every team in the knockout phase qualified from a group phase.
“Any team in the last eight is good enough for the trophy. We believe we are good enough for the trophy, but we must continue working and putting out our best on match days.”
The Nigeria vs Angola game is scheduled for Friday, February 2, at the Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium in Abidjan.