AFCON 2019 preview: Nigeria vs Cameroon
The round of 16 fixture between the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon and the Super Eagles of Nigeria in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) will be the biggest clash in the tournament so far.
Nigeria and Cameroon have both met six times in previous AFCON tournaments with the Indomitable Lions winning three, Nigeria winning two while there has been one draw. Clearly, these old friends will treat each other as foes at the Alexandria Stadium on Saturday 5:00 pm.
The Super Eagles defeated Cameroon 2-1 in their last meeting at the AFCON, with Austin Okocha and John Utaka erasing Samuel Eto’o’s strike at Stade Mustapha Ben Jannet, Monastir in 2004.
Cameroon is currently unbeaten in this year’s AFCON. The Indomitable Lions started the tournament with an impressive 2-0 win over Guinea-Bissau in Group F. They played a goalless draw in the remaining two matches against Africa powerhouses Ghana and the Benin Republic to finish second in the group.
The Super Eagles of Nigeria, on the other hand, have had an inconsistent run in the tournament. They won their first two Group B matches against Burundi and Guinea by a single goal and lost the last match 2-0 to debutants Madagascar.
Both teams have clearly shown that they can be inconsistent and disappointing to millions of their followers when it matters most. However, both team coaches- Nigeria’s Gernot Rohr and Cameroon’s Clarence Seedorf understand the enormity of the match and will look to improve on their below-par performances in their previous games.
Seedorf, who is having his debut as a coach at the tournament is optimistic his side has what it takes to knock the Super Eagles out of the tournament. He admits, however, that it is a difficult task.
“Nigeria is a top team, with lots of quality players. It will be difficult against a good side like this, but we have what it takes to beat them,” Seedorf said.
“Our target is to successfully defend our trophy and we will fight till the end to achieve our objective.”
In the same stead, Rohr foresees a tough test against the reigning African champions. He, however, said the Super Eagles will prepare well.
“The real tournament is starting for us now,” the Super Eagles said. “I think it will be a very tough game, but there’s a small difference between both sides and so we have to prepare very well.”
Nigeria will expect their best players- Alex Iwobi, Odion Ighalo, Ahmed Musa and Wilfred Ndidi to break the solid Cameroonian team’s defence that has not conceded a goal all-tournament-long.
Cameroon superstars- Christian Bassogog, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana will prove a hurdle for the Super Eagles in securing a place in the quarterfinals of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
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