Nigeria v Guinea: Bonus issue overshadows Super Eagles' preparations
Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr called for "serenity and harmony" among his players as they face Guinea amid talks with the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) over unpaid allowances and bonuses.
Winger Ahmed Musa did not appear as scheduled for the Super Eagles' pre-match news conference ahead of their Group B match following reports the squad did not receive a bonus payment for the 1-0 victory over Burundi.
Rohr confirmed that Musa missed the media appearance to meet with the NFF but said he hoped the situation would be resolved quickly to allow them to focus on their Africa Cup of Nations campaign, which continues against Guinea on Wednesday.
"My player [Musa] couldn't attend the press conference today because they have a very important meeting," said Rohr.
"I just hope the situation can be resolved so we can focus on what we have in front of us, and that the situation around the team will be a good one with the serenity and harmony that we need."
Odion Ighalo came on as a substitute against Burundi and scored within four minutes of his introduction to settle a tight match at Alexandria Stadium.
Guinea started their campaign with a 2-2 draw against Madagascar, and Rohr said the prospect of clinching qualification for the next round with a second successive victory would motivate his players.
"I think that we are ready because the players are coming back and becoming fit now, and Guinea have the pressure because they have to win this match," said Rohr.
"I think that this match is the most difficult in our group when you see the players they have playing in such big teams like Liverpool, Napoli, Bordeaux. A lot of them have been educated in France with the French football philosophy.
"But we are in a positive situation because we are top of the group with three points we want to stay on the top of the group.
"If we win we are sure to be qualified already and this is a big motivation for our players."
Guinea defender Issiaga Sylla, who plays his club football for Toulouse, indicated his side would go for broke to get the result they need to keep their campaign alive.
"We don't have anything to lose," he told reporters. "We'll play with all our strength against Nigeria. It's going to be difficult but we'll do everything we can.
"We have a lot of players that can make the difference."
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Nigeria - John Obi Mikel
Substituted after just under an hour against Burundi, Mikel admitted his side struggled to break down their opponents and will be keen to make amends against Guinea.
Guinea - Sory Kaba
Forward Kaba has scored in Guinea's last two games, including netting in the 34th minute of the draw with Madagascar, and will be a marked man against Nigeria.
KEY OPTA FACTS
- Nigeria and Guinea’s only previous AFCON encounter came in March 1976 in the group stages (1-1).
- Guinea are unbeaten in their last four meetings against Nigeria in all competitions (W3 D1), after winning none of their previous eight games against the Super Eagles (D4 L4).
- Nigeria have won their last five games in the tournament, their longest streak ever in their history, never conceding more than one goal in each of their five encounters.
- Guinea are winless in their last six games in the Africa Cup of Nations (D5 L1), their last success in the competition coming back in January 2012 against Botswana (6-1).