Brighton & Hove defender Leon Balogun has admitted that the Super Eagles have a tough task on their hands in the group stage of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations despite the fact they are one of the favourites for the title.
Drawn in Group B alongside two debutants Burundi and Madagascar, and a strong-looking Guinea team- filled with stars such as Liverpool's Naby Keïta, Eintracht Frankfurt's Simon Falette, Napoli's Amadou Diawara and Bordeaux's François Kamano - Balogun has made it clear there are no underdogs in the group.
The Nigeria number 6 likened the underrated teams to Brighton, who gave the big Premier League teams a run for their money last season.
''Some people will look at our group and think it will be easy, but there are no such games at tournaments like this one,'' said Balogun to the official website of the Seagulls.
''Sometimes when you play teams who people consider to be underdogs you have your hardest matches – you only have to look at someone likes ourselves at Brighton to see how much you can put the bigger teams under pressure and give them a tough time.
''Once we get through the group stage you can start thinking in this way, but for us, the next game is always the hardest one and that’s the mentality we’ll have to have for the tournament.''
The Super Eagles have gone past the group stage in 15 of their 17 appearances at the Africa Cup of Nations.
Read more: Futaa predicts Nigeria's starting XI against Burundi