CAIRO: Nigeria captain Nwankwo Kanu conceded that his side will face a tough task against Egypt in their African Cup of Nations (CAN) opener.
They are the defending champions, and it is never easy to play against the champions because they want to hold on to their title, Kanu told KickOffNigeria.com on Sunday.
They deserve respect because it is not easy to win the Nations Cup back to back.
Nigeria open their Group C campaign against six-time African Champions Egypt on Tuesday.
Both sides are favorites to progress from a group that also includes minnows Benin and Mozambique. They are expected to vie for the top spot.
We are also very prepared, we have worked hard and we believe that we are ready to go out there and make our people proud, Kanu added.
The Portsmouth striker is set to make his sixth appearance at the biennial tournament.
He is not a regular starter though, with coach Shuaibu Amodu relying on Obafemi Martins and Yakubu Aiyegbeni upfront.