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.