They’ve progressed through two rounds of the World Cup qualifying on the African continent already and now the Super Eagles of Nigeria begin the third round of the campaign with an away fixture against Zambia this Sunday.
With 20 African teams remaining, and five spots available at Russia 2018, it is only the five group winners who will secure a ticket to the showpiece competition in two years’ time.
Nigeria have been drawn in Group B alongside Zambia, Cameroon and Algeria, and new coach Gernot Rohr is aware that a strong start to the group stage is pivotal.
This qualifying campaign will be particularly difficult for the West Africans.
‘We go to Zambia to win. It will be difficult because Zambia have a good team and like the three other teams in our group, any one of us could qualify for the World Cup,’ Rohr told the media.
The German tactician is not overstating the situation, as history backs up his claims. Group B can certainly be considered the ‘group of death’, as Nigeria, the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon and the Fennec Foxes of Algeria are all seasoned World Cup campaigners, while Zambia won the Africa Cup of Nations in 2012.
While the hype surrounding the Super Eagles means that they are always expected to reach World Cup tournaments, this qualifying campaign will be particularly difficult for the West Africans.
Algeria looks the most likely candidate to book their place, as Africa’s second-best ranked national team.
With only one of the four Group B competitors able to snatch a ticket to Russia, Algeria looks the most likely candidate to book their place, as Africa’s second-best ranked national team.
The North Africans have some of the best strikers on the continent at the moment, and the squad depth that they possess is astounding. Algeria are incredibly difficult to beat at home, and they have the experience and quality to pick up points in away encounters, setting them up to top the group by November next year.