Sports

AFCON 2023: Camavinga, Real Madrid star of Angolan origin, takes stand ahead of Nigeria game

The Palancas Negras are bidding to reach the semifinals of the continental championship for the first time in history

France international midfielder Eduardo Celmi Camavinga has thrown his support behind Angola as the Pelancas Negras face Nigeria in the quarterfinals of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, Soccernet.ng reports.

Camavinga has strong links with Angola, where he was born 21 years ago inside a refugee camp to parents of Angolan and Congolese heritage.

The youngster, however, moved to France at a young age, eventually making his first senior appearance for the France national team in 2020 at the age of 17, becoming the nation’s youngest debutant in over a century.

Camavinga was a prominent member of the French team that finished runners-up to winners Argentina at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

The versatile midfielder was in the Real Madrid squad that defeated Las Palmas 2-1 on Saturday and he has also been keeping in touch with Angola’s adventures in the AFCON.

The Pelancas Negras have enjoyed a fantastic run, stating unbeaten and making it to the last eight of the competition.

And backing his country of birth to beat Nigeria, Camavinga liked a post on Twitter (now, X) predicting that Angola will secure a 2-0 victory over Nigeria.

Angola reached the quarterfinals of the ongoing AFCON after finishing top in Group D ahead of Burkina Faso and Algeria and beating Namibia 3-0 in the Round of 16. It is the third time the Southern African nation has made it to the last-8 of the continental championships.

However, the Pelancas Negras will aim to reach the semifinal for the very first time when they meet with three-time winners Nigeria on Friday evening at the Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium in Abidjan.

Nigeria – ranked 40th in the world, 77 places ahead of their opponents – will be favourites to edge past the Black Antelopes and advance towards a fourth continental title.