Football

Afcon 2019: Nigeria wants Iwobi to score more

Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr is banking on Arsenal forward Alex Iwobi for goals when they face debutants Burundi on Saturday in the Africa Cup of Nations group B opener in Egypt.

“Although only 23, Alex is an experienced international and I want to see him scoring more regularly for the national team,” said German Rohr.

“He, Odion (Ighalo) and Ahmed (Musa) can cause a lot of damage to opposition defences if they click at this Cup of Nations.”

Rohr has cause for concern as Nigeria failed to score in two warm-up matches against fellow qualifiers, drawing 0-0 at home to Zimbabwe and losing 1-0 to Senegal in Egypt.

But a favourable draw – Guinea and Madagascar complete group B – should ensure Nigeria top the standings and book a last-16 place.

Here, we preview the three Saturday matches with Guinea playing Madagascar in the other group B fixture and the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda squaring off in group A.

Nigeria v Burundi

Nigeria are the fourth highest ranked team in Egypt and Burundi the lowest with 89 places separating them in the world rankings.

But Rohr became upset the second a reporter described this match in the coastal city of Alexandria as one the three-time champions should win comfortably.

“The national football association president (Amaju Pinnick) says we must win this tournament, but we have a very young side.”

However, the coach can call on three of the 2013 Africa Cup-winning squad, captain John Obi Mikel, Kenneth Omeruo and Musa, to provide experience.

Ranked among the no-hopers, Burundi have impressed in preparatory matches against former champions, holding Algeria and losing in stoppage time to Tunisia.

 

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