The Super Eagles are overwhelming favourites ahead of the game on Sunday, January 14, but this is a tournament where upsets are part of the deal.
The irony, though, is that Equatorial Guinea are heading into the AFCON as the team in form, having not tasted defeat in any of their last 10 matches in all competitions.
By contrast, Nigeria have won just one out of their last five matches in all competitions, including a disappointing 2-0 defeat at the hands of Guinea in a pre-tournament friendly last week.
Nigeria vs Equatorial Guinea combined XI
Afrik Foot has compiled a combined starting line-up, featuring the best players in each position from both teams as we build up to Sunday's game.
Lined up in a 4-3-3 formation, Jesus Owono gets the nod in the post. Like Francis Uzoho, the 22-year-old hasn’t played much this season for Alaves but he’s kept clean sheets in each of the three cup games he’s played for the Spanish side season and was solid for Equatorial Guinea in qualifying.
Equatorial Guinea captain Emilio Nsue gets in at right-back over Ola Aina. Despite predominantly being a forward, Nsue is versatile and has played at right-back. The former Middlesbrough man edges Aina out due to his pedigree and consistency with the national team, notably skipping the Nzalang Nacional to fourth place at the AFCON 2015.
Nigeria's Bruno Onyemaechi, though, assumes the left-back role.
Saul Coco will be going into the AFCON as one of the best defenders in the tournament and the Las Palmas man picks one of the centre-back slots, with Calvin Bassey beside him at the heart of defence.
In midfield, Yusuf Alhassan sits at the base of a triumvirate that consists of Alex Iwobi and AC Monza’s Jose Machin on either side.
The front three is made up of Villarreal star Samuel Chuwkueze, Atalanta winger Ademola Lookman and Napoli sharp shooter Victor Osimhen.
Some players narrowly missed out on making the combined starting XI, and so will have to make do with a place on the substitutes bench. These are Uzoho, William Troost-Ekong, Charles Ondo, Luis Asue, Joe Aribo and Kelechi Iheanacho.
See Afrik Foot’s combined XI for Nigeria vs Equatorial Guinea below:
GK – Jesus Owono
RB – Emilio Nsue
LB – Bruno Onyemaechi
CB – Saul Coco
CB – Calvin Bassey
DM – Yusuf Alhassan
CM – Alex Iwobi
CM – Jose Machin
LW – Ademola Lookman
RW – Samuel Chukwueze
ST – Victor Osimhen Osimhen