Defending champions Nigeria may need to beat Group B leaders South Africa tonight in Cairo if they were to qualify for the semifinal of the 2019 U23 AFCON in Egypt.
Group B could not have been more wide open after two rounds of matches as all four teams have a chance to still make it to the knockout rounds of the competition, which also serves as qualifying tournament for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
South Africa are top of the standings on four points, Nigeria second after a 3-1 win over Zambia, while Cote d’Ivoire also have three points.
Zambia are bottom of the group with a point, but they could still qualify if they beat Cote d’Ivoire tonight and Nigeria lose to South Africa.
Coach Imama Amapakabo will most likely be hanging his hopes on the same team who came from behind to beat Zambia on Tuesday.
That will mean Taiwo Awoniyi will lead the attack alongside wingers Sunusi Ibrahim and Orji Okwonkwo, who will hopefully be fit for this crucial tie after he was forced out by injury in the Zambia game after netting the all-important equaliser.
Skipper Okechukwu Azubuike will marshal a midfield that also has Kelechi Nwakali and Ndifreke Effiong in a 4-3-3 formation.
Hosts Egypt and Ghana have already qualified for the semifinals from Group A.
Egypt won all three matches, while Ghana upstaged Cameroon on the final day of Group A action by beating Mali 2-0 to advance on a better goals difference.
The top three teams will represent Africa at next year’s Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.
Kick-off time today is 7pm in Nigeria.