African Cup of Nations: Egypt vs. Nigeria

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Egypt vs. Nigeria: Defending champions Egypt begin their quest for another African Nations Cup title when they face Nigeria in their opening Group C match this afternoon.

The Pharaohs and the Super Eagles are two of the most storied African football sides so expect plenty of exciting action in this encounter.

The Egyptians have six titles but they are meeting another top football country. The North Africans are also weakened with Mido, Amr Zaki and Mohamed Aboutrika all absent from the squad.

Aboutrika’s absence could open the door for other skippers, including Hossam Ghaly and Shikabala, who makes a return after a one-year international ban.

It will be interesting to see how Egypt coach Hassan Shehata works with a new playmaker who can fill the shoes of the Al Ahly star.

However, the focus of this game will be on two players – John Obi Mikel and Ahmed Hassan. Mikel (who plays for Chelsea) may have the higher profile in England, but Hassan, the Egyptian captain, is the most naturally gifted player in the continent.

The match kicks-off at 11:00 a.m. ET (17:00 CET).

UPDATE: The Pharaohs came from behind to make a winning start to their ANC title defense as they beat Nigeria 3-1, thanks to goals from Emad Meteab, Ahmed Hassan and Mohammed Naguy.