Following a brief break of what was a thrilling first round of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, action in Ivory Coast resumes on Saturday evening with the first of the last-16 round fixtures.
First out at 7pm (SA time) is Angola against Namibia, with Nigeria meeting Cameroon at 10pm.
Interestingly, both encounters will also be derbies as they feature countries which are neighbours to each other. Both the Brave Warriors of Namibia and Palancas Negras of Angola have exceeded expectation of the punters with their performances in this Afcon.
The Angolans have had a better run so far, having booked their place in the last-16 round after topping their group ahead of Burkina Faso, Mauritania and 2019 Afcon winners Algeria. Their southern neighbour, Namibia, are also enjoying a fairytale run after qualifying for the knockout stages for the first time ever.
Their historic run started as early as the first game of the tournament, when they recorded their first ever win at the Afcon by stunning Tunisia by 1-0 during in Group E.
It goes without saying that the Namibians will have a tough task in their hands against a fierce Angolan outfit.
They will be hoping that their captain and talisman Peter Shalulile finds his goal scoring boots and breaks the Afcon duck and ultimately guide them to the next round of the competition.
Overall, a gruelling as well as exciting encounter between the two southern Africa nations can be expected in Bouaké.
Eagles and Elephants blockbuster
Meanwhile, the Nigeria and Cameroon blockbuster will bring to mind the 1984 Afcon final between the two powerhouses. Coincidentally, the same tournament was staged in Ivory Coast.
Cameroon walked out victorious after thumping their northwestern neighbour Nigeria 3-1 to win the prestigious competition.
With both teams blowing hot and cold in 2023 Ivory Coast so far, it’s anybody’s guess who will prevail between the Super Eagles and Indomitable Lions in Abidjan.