The battle line has been drawn, and the 24 teams that qualified for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) now know who they will be going up against. After the draw last Friday in Cairo, Nigeria was put in Group B, alongside Guinea, Madagascar and Burundi.
Looking at the teams, fans of the Super Eagles are feeling understandably confident. The reason is simple: Going by the AFCON records of all the group members, it appears the Super Eagles are going to have their easiest group stage run ever in the history of the competition.
Since 1957, when the first AFCON tournament held, Guinea has qualified for only 12 editions; while Madagascar and Burundi just recorded their first-ever qualifications. So, based on those stats, Guinea is really the only team Nigeria needs to be worried about.
However, while we’re relieved Nigeria isn’t going to face any big team in the group stage, we can’t rule out the possibility of surprises. African teams that were once seen as underdogs are now dominating. Consequently, Gernot Rohr isn’t celebrating yet, as he thinks "Group B will be tough."
Clearly, he’s speaking in football language, and this is our translation: 'Although we expect the group stage to be a cakewalk, the team shouldn’t treat it as such. If the players keep their heads up and take each game as it comes, they just might advance out of the group stage'.