AFCON – Important facts to note about the teams in Nigeria’s group B (teams, track records & star players)

NIGERIA is in group B, they will play these three teams – Burundi, Guinea and Madagascar

Burundi

Team name-  Burundi Swallows: This is the country’s first outing to the Nations cup. They are the least placed team in FIFA rankings in group B sitting at a position of 134

Performance in the AFCON Qualifiers: they did not lose a single game, They picked home and away victories against South Sudan and played out two draws against the group’s most experienced teams, Mali and Gabon.

In the build up to AFCON, Burundi played two friendly matches, drawing 1-1 with Algeria in their first game in Doha, Qatar before losing 2-1 to Tunisia in Rades courtesy of a late goal by Naim Sliti.

Star players to watch out for: Former Stoke City forward Saido Berahino. The Stoke striker featured prominently in the qualifiers and scored the equalizing goal against Gabon in the first leg. Also, to be watched from this team is Algerian-based striker Abdul Razak Fiston who scored six goals for them in the qualification phase.

Date with Nigeria – Nigeria would play Burundi today at 19:00 at the city Alexandria stadium.

Comments – they have a points to prove and really dangerous players like Abdul Razak who broke the goal records in AFCON qualifying netting in 6 for the team, They should not be treated like underdogs

Madagascar

Madagascar team- Barea: This is also their first ever Africa Cup of Nations. Ranked 108th in the world.

Performance in the qualifiers – They put up a strong showing at the qualifiers finishing second in pool A. They won Sudan and equatorial Guinea and held Senegal to a draw finishing with 10 points.

In the build up to AFCON, Madagascar played a friendly match against Kenya in France, losing 1-0 but the coach said they picked a lot of positives to help them get ready for the tough task ahead of them.

Players to watch out for – Charles Andriamatsinoro and Faneva Imà Andriatsima who played a crucial role in their qualification. They contributed to five goals in Madagascar’s qualification.

Date with the super eagles – Sunday 30th June

Comments– They held Senegal to a draw in the qualifying matches, they should not be taken for granted

Guinea

Guinea team: Syli nationale The Guinea team have been at the Cup of Nations 12 times and are yet to win the crown. Their best outing in the AFCON cup was in 1976 when they finished as 1st runner up.

They are presently coached by the charismatic Paul Put who helped Burkina Faso to a historic final in 2013, before Burkina Faso was defeated by Nigeria. Guinea have been knocked out at the quarter-final stage in four of their last five AFCON participations

Performance in the AFCON cup qualifying- Their AFCON qualifying performance was stellar, they won all their matches defeating Rwanda, Ivory Coast and central African republic, on the flip side, they lost all three preparatory friendlies against Gambia , Benin and Egypt

Star players: Liverpool’s Naby Keita who has however not played a competitive match since picking up an injury for his club playing against Manchester City in the UEFA Champions League.

Bordeaux winger Kamano is a constant attacking threat and Napoli’s Diawara is one of the best midfield controllers on the continent.  

Date with Nigeria – June 26th

Comments- They would be more prepared to face Nigeria than any other team in the group, plus their coach has some scores to pick with us after we defeated his side ( Burkina Faso in the finals in 2013)

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