The Super Eagles faltered 2-0 against Guinea in a pre-AFCON friendly game in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), on Monday, raising concerns about Nigeria’s readiness for the competition which begins this week.
Nigeria named a strong side for the game with returning William Troost-Ekong captaining the side while South Africa-based goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali manned the post.
But the Syli National drew first blood when Aguibou Camara netted in the 14th minute of the game.
The Super Eagles had a chance to go level when Real Sociedad forward Sadiq Umar was hacked down in the box. Nantes’ Simon Moses stepped up to take the resultant spot kick but his effort was saved by the Guinean goalkeeper.
Coach Jose Peseiro’s men rallied for an equaliser before half-time. That did not, however, happen as Nigeria went into the tunnel trailing against their fellow West Africans.
In the 64th minute, Guinea doubled the lead to compound the Super Eagles’ woes no thanks to a Facinet Conté’s strike.
While Peseiro made some changes in attack, midfield, and defence, the Syli Nationals held on for a famous win over the three-time African champions.
Monday’s defeat is coming hours after the Super Eagles wallopped a Dubai-based club 12-0 in another friendly tie.
The Nigerian boys are expected back in the country from their UAE camp on Tuesday. Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State will host them in a send-forth ceremony on the same day. Thereafter, the 25 players and officials will head out for Cote d’Ivoire where the competition is billed to begin on Saturday.
Nigeria, winners of the tournament in 2013, are in Group A alongside the host nation; Guinea-Bissau and Equatorial Guinea. They begin their quest for a fourth continental title on Sunday, January 14th against Equatorial Guinea.
The hosts nation face Nigeria on Thursday, January 18th, before they battle Guinea-Bissau on Monday, January, 22nd.