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Nigerian news: Beware of Pharaohs, Jay Jay Okocha warns Eagles

Former Captain of the Super Eagles, Austin ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha, has warned Nigerian players to beware of the Egyptian counterparts- the  Pharaohs as both of them clash today in the African Cup of Nations”They are double champions for a reason and a skillful midfield could carry them to a hat-trick,” warned Okocha.

Egypt are clear that this clash will go a long way in determining how well they will fare in their title defence in Angola.

“Our match against Nigeria will show how we will perform in the following matches, just like the 2008 tournament,” said Egypt skipper Ahmed Hassan.

At Ghana 2008, Egypt got off to a flying start with an impressive 4-2 opening group win over Cameroon in Kumasi and they then went all the way to clinch a record sixth Nations Cup crown at the expense of the same team three weeks later in Accra.

“Nigeria are a strong team, but we are now familiar with all African teams. I told the players they should do their best to realise their own dreams.

“Personally, I want to win a fourth African title with the national team,” said Hassan.

Despite a dramatic qualification for their fourth World Cup in November, there remains a growing dissatisfaction by the public with both the Nigeria coach, Shuaibu Amodu, and the performance of the Eagles.

Amodu may have now qualified Nigeria for the World Cup a second time, but his tactics and team selection continue to be questioned as pressure mounts for him to be replaeced with a foreign coach for the World Cup in June.

He may well be sacked if they do not reach at least the semi-finals in Angola.

The Eagles barely managed to beat South African first division side Thanda Royal Zulu courtesy of a penalty goal before they were held to a goalless draw by Zambia in the build-up.

Locomotiv Moscow striker Osaze Odemwingie is likely to miss out after suffering from an infection, meaning Everton striker Yakubu Aiyegbeni will either be partnered upfront by Obafemi Martins or Obinna Nsofor, who scored four goals as Nigeria booked their flight to South Africa 2010.

At 33, Skipper Nwankwo Kanu is also pressing for a place on the starting line-up after an eye-catching display against Zambia in Durban last week.

This would be his last Nations Cup and it would therefore be a most fitting farewell gift should he finally break his goal scoring duck at this tournament in Angola.

Egypt are missing striker Amr Zaki, Mohamed Barakat and Mohamed Aboutrika, who have been sidelined by injury.

Al Ahly defence strongman Wael Gomaa made the final squad to Angola, but he is a major injury doubt too.

Borussia Dortmund striker Mohamed Zidan, who made his Nations Cup debut two years ago, will also be leading a relatively inexperienced attack.