Nigeria Eye Last Eight At Afcon
Nigeria are bracing up for a win-or-bust match against Ethiopia in the last round of group games at the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa this Tuesday.
Stephen Keshi's Super Eagles have just two points from two games and now have to beat Ethiopia's Walya Antelopes to give themselves a good chance of progressing into the last eight of the Afcon.
Ethiopia have taken just a point from their opening two games and are ready to pose problems to Nigeria, who have had to endure conceding two late goals in their games against Burkina Faso and Zambia to remain without a win in the tournament.
“We should win our matches before bad calls are made so that those who know next to nothing about football will not become our overnight technical advisers,” Keshi said.
The unimpressive start by Nigeria has put pressure on Keshi and his squad, and Ethiopia head coach, Sewnet Bishaw has not failed to turn on the screw on his side's opponents.
“There is a lot of pressure on Nigeria because if they don't win they will be kicked out of the tournament, so they will come out to attack. That might help us in playing our football,” Ethiopia's 60 year-old coach said at a press conference on Monday.
However, both teams head into this game with one identical statistic - no wins in their last two games.
The Super Eagles have been dominant over the Walya Antelopes over the years with their last meeting in the 2012 Afcon qualifying ending in a 2-2 draw in Addis Ababa in 2011.
Nigeria's frail backline will definitely be tested by Ethiopia's striking duo of Adane Girma and Saladin Said.
For the Super Eagles, Spartak Moscow forward, Emmanuel Emenike remains the only bright spot in attack with Victor Moses struggling to be fit.
Keshi could opt to start experienced Villareal forward, Ikechukwu Uche when both teams clash at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg.
Nigeria v Ethiopia head-to-head
June 5, 2011: Ethiopia 2-2 Nigeria (Afcon Qualifying)
March 27, 2011: Nigeria 4-0 Ethiopia (Afcon Qualifying)
July 24, 1993: Nigeria 6-0 Ethiopia (Afcon Qualifying)
April 11, 1993: Ethiopia 1-0 Nigeria (Afcon Qualifying)
April 29, 1983: Ethiopia 0-1 Nigeria (Friendly)
March 7, 1982: Nigeria 3-0 Ethiopia (Afcon)