Nigeria has been boosted with an early edge over Egypt in the countdown to their epic clash at this year’s Africa Cup of Nations, as The Pharaoh’s arrival in Cameroon has been hit with setbacks, sportsdayonline.com reports.
While the Super Eagles flew into Cameroon safely on Wednesday night and won a build-up match on Friday, their first opponents in Group D of this year’s continental soccer showpiece have been delayed by covid-19 issues.
Indeed, the Eagles also have their own fare share of health issues, with Victor Osimhen ruled out due to injury and covid-19, Peter Oghenekaro Etebo, Paul Ebere Onuachu and Leon Aderemi Balogun absent on account of fitness issues.
Also missing from the Eagles’ squad to AFCON 2021 are Odion Jude Ighalo and Emmanuel Bonaventure Dennis, whose respective clubs refused to release for the competition that starts this Sunday in Yaoundé, but the three-time African champions will be pleased to hear the troubles Egypt are facing.
Details of the report out of Cairo indicate that flight hitches and health matters have scuttled a scheduled trip by the seven-time winners and hosts of the 2019 AFCON, where Nigeria won bronze but The Pharaohs lost out in round two.
A report by BBC Sport revealed that Egypt’s squad were forced to cancel their final training drills after coronavirus cases were reported in their camp and, though they were initially due to depart on Friday, they will now fly to Cameroon on Saturday.
The Nations Cup starts on Sunday, with Egypt facing Nigeria in their first Group D match on Tuesday (16:00 GMT), but the number of cases and identities of those who have tested positive have not been disclosed.
Egypt’s coach, Carlos Queiroz tweeted: “Unprecedented times. The more the situation becomes difficult, the more we stay together and strong.
“Better we stand together and focus on what we need to do to meet the challenges. Dear Friends and Team Mates, we all pray for your health, wishing fast recovery and return to our Team.”