Nigeria football team (Photo: Reuters)
Nigeria Football Federation chief Amaju Pinnick seemed full of confidence ahead of the Super Eagles' Cup of Nations double qualifier with Egypt, asserting that they 'will not escape defeat in Kaduna' on Friday.
Relying on English Premier League trio Odion Ighalo, Alex Iwobi and Obi Mikel, Nigeria will be looking to snatch all three points at home before visiting Egypt four days later for the second clash at Alexandria's Borg El-Arab Stadium.
“With the form of Iwobi, Mikel, Odion and other players in England and other leagues of Europe, Egypt know they are in real trouble and will not escape defeat in Kaduna," Pinnick told Nigerian website Vanguard.com.
“Our boys are in the best form for the Egypt game, and if they reproduce such form in Kaduna on Friday, goals will rain against the visitors.
"What we are praying for is that our foreign based players give the game their best and win the first leg before going for the final kill in the second leg duel.
“Already, some of the players have called to reassure us that they would show no mercy against Egypt and I believe them. We are not taking any chances against the Pharaohs."
Watford striker Ighalo has been in stunning form this season, having bagged 15 Premier League goals plus another two in the FA Cup.
Nineteen-year-old attacking midfielder Iwobi, meanwhile, has managed to impress for Arsenal of late, netting his first goal for the Gunners in the 2-0 win over Everton.
Obi Mikel, on the other hand, was given a new lease of life under interim Chelsea boss Guus Hiddink – who has regularly relied on him in the holding midfielder position since replacing Jose Mourinho at the helm in December last year.
Egypt, who haven't reached the Cup of Nations since last winning the title in 2010, are currently top of Group G on six points following two wins - while rivals Nigeria are second with four.(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)