Super Eagles assistant coach Imama Amapakabo has told SCORENigeria that the gap has remarkably narrowed between the teams in Africa so much so that there will no longer be pushovers at the AFCON.
Three-time African champions Nigeria were at the weekend held to a goalless draw by fellow 2019 AFCON qualifiers Zimbabwe in Asaba.
Expectations are also running high in Nigeria after the Super Eagles returned to the AFCON after they missed out on the last two tournaments.
However, Imama, who is also in charge of the Nigeria U23s, was quick to caution it will be big battle for survival in Egypt even for the Eagles.
“The bridges have been crossed and there are now no longer small teams in Africa,” he warned.
“We played on Saturday against a very organised Zimbabwe team and there were no goals.
“This has further opened our eyes to what to expect at the AFCON.
“The result has kept us humble and united.”
Nigeria are drawn in a first round group alongside debutants Burundi and Madagascar as well as Guinea.