The Super Eagles of Nigeria will hope to banish the memories of an embarrassing loss to the Barea of Madagascar in their third group game.
The Nigerians were left clutching their faces in utter disgust as the Madagascans emerged group leaders ahead of the 2013 AFCON champions.
Head Coach, Gernot Rohr believes this is a lesson for unity as the team has been taught humility in the hardest way possible. While he blamed the loss on complacency of some sort, he is positive that his players will respond impressively against the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon.
Cameroon, defending champions are on a 9-game unbeaten streak in the AFCON, the longest since their 12-game unbeaten streak between 2000 and 2004. The Central African nation has flattered to impress in the ongoing AFCON picking up a win and two draws to emerge leaders in a group that had Ghana, Benin Republic and Guinea-Bissau.
Former Dutch international and the Indomitable Lions’ coach, Clarence Seedorf has shown his preference for the unpredictable, using different styles, tactics and approaches. This, Nigerian coach, Rohr has admitted is a strength.
The Super Eagles, who have lost just one of their last 7 AFCON fixtures have a mountain to climb if they will defeat a strong Cameroonian side. While the team has an embarrassment of attacking talents, a lack of creativity and goals have has been a worrisome sight for the team. Team skipper, Mikel Obi was deployed in the hole in the first game against Burundi but was taken off after over 50 unimpressive minutes. Arsenal man, Alex Iwobi has proven a good deal in the No. 10 position of the team but his consistency is not worth taking a nap on.
Cameroon may look to stifle the Eagles attackers and learn a thing or two from the Madagascans approach, leaving the Super Eagles’ Franco-German tactician with the necessity of dipping into his finest tactical skillset against a very familiar opposition.
The Nigerian team has met Cameroon 22 times and lost just 4, with 3 of those being crucial cup finals, including a painful loss on home soil in Ghana/Nigeria 2000. The Super Eagles won 13 of these fixtures, and 5 ended in draws.
The last time both teams met, Nigeria proved a more superior side and will hope to find such high level performance that saw the team blow away Cameroon 4-0 in the 2018 World Cup fixture.
It will definitely be a difficult game, dubbed by many as the toughest pairing in the Round of 16 and one that can as well stand to be the final- albeit, before the grand finale.