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EXCLUSIVE: Nigeria coach Rohr names the Afcon's three favourites

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After missing the two last Afcon editions, the German tactician is playing down expectations in Egypt

Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr has picked Senegal, Tunisia and host nation Egypt as favourites for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) title.

Next week, Rohr will lead the West Africans back to the biennial showpiece. The Super Eagles will first face Burundi at the Alexandria Stadium on June 22.

After being ranked by Fifa as the third-best footballing nation in Africa, the 65-year-old gaffer stated that a semi-final berth remains the country’s target.

“We are not the favourites to win it, the favourite is Egypt at home then the team number one in Africa is Senegal, then Tunisia,” Rohr told Goal.

“We are number three in the rankings officially so we should go until the semi-final, now we focus on the first match against Burundi. All our focus is on this match then we will see how it can go on. Of course, we have to come out of this group.

“The ideal [objective] will be [to finish in] first place so we could stay in Alexandria but it will be difficult, our opponents are good teams.

The Super Eagles will wrap up preparations for the Acon with a friendly match against Senegal in Ismailia on June 16.

Rohr also stated that the lessons learnt after their group stage exit from the 2018 Fifa World Cup in Russia would be vital for their success in Egypt.

“The experience of the World Cup is very important, we have 15 players who made the World Cup and know how high the level is in international football,” he added.

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“We learned a lot in the World Wup, we were the youngest team in the World Cup and I think even now, we are still the youngest team.

“Unfortunately, we do not have more than [Victor] Moses but our captain Obi [Mikel] is back, our young players need also a guide. The mixture between the youth and experience is very important.”

After their opening fixture against Burundi, Nigeria will play against Guinea on June 26 and then wrap up their group outings against Madagascar on June 30.

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