PREVIEW: Nigeria vs. Cameroon
The Super Eagles of Nigeria will have the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon to contend with in the Round of 16 of the 2019 African Cup of Nations at the Alexandria Stadium, Egypt.
The Nigerian team, who garnered six points to finish as runners-up of Group B, will be looking to get back to winning ways – after their shock defeat to Madagascar in the final group game – when they file out against their rivals from Central Africa on Saturday.
Cameroon, who are on defence of their 2017 title, meanwhile accumulated 5 points to finish runners-up as well in Group F, with their only win in the competition so far being the 2-0 victory over Guinea Bissau in their opening match.
The Saturday clash promises thrilling displays as both sides reenact their long-time rivalry, and the coaches of either sides believe it will be a perfect template to up their game after a somewhat gloomy show in the group phase.
In the pre-match press conference on Friday, Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr took time to analyse the Eagles 2-0 loss to Madagascar in their previous game just as he stated he’s banking on his boys to prove the defeat was just a fluke versus Cameroon.
“Madagascar was special because we had already qualified and may be it affected the players subconsciously,” the German gaffer admitted.
“We have to forgive the players for the individual mistakes like Ogu and Balogun. There’s no problem in the team, we now we must win this match.
“Our match versus Cameroon could have been a final but we must play them in Round of 16. We have had plenty time to prepare and tomorrow we can show Nigerians that the loss against Madagascar was an accident.
“I want to see fun & fighting spirit from my players,” Rohr concluded.
Meanwhile, AC Milan legend and Cameroon coach Clarence Seedorf acknowledges the Super Eagles are a force to reckon with on the continent but promises a solid performance from his lads against them in Saturday clash.
“I am happy to be leading Cameroon to defend their title and it’s an honour playing Nigeria at AFCON,” Seedorf stated.
“We don’t underestimate anybody, and Nigeria will know they’ll be facing a solid Cameroon side tomorrow. It will be easy for everyone to lift their game in such a big match.
“We’ve analysed our lack of goals and we believe it’s down to our decisions in the final pass. We’ve been helped by our clean sheets but this is a knockout and we have to find solutions tomorrow.”
- Left-back Jamilu Collins has fully recovered from his injury and fit to feature in the encounter, Rohr has affirmed.
- John Obi Mikel’s hematoma knee injury sustained in the aftermath of the Madagascar game rules him of Saturday’s encounter.
- Meanwhile, Shehu Abdullahi is yet unavailable for selection as he isn’t match fit.
HEAD TO HEAD
22 Games Played | 11 Nigeria Wins | 7 Draws | 4 Cameroon Wins
Last 10 Clashes:
1989: Nigeria 2-0 Cameroon
1989: Cameroon 1-0 Nigeria
1992: Nigeria 2-1 Cameroon
1997: Nigeria 1-0 Cameroon
2000: Nigeria 2-2 Cameroon
2003: Nigeria 3-0 Cameroon
2004: Cameroon 1-2 Nigeria
2015: Nigeria 3-0 Cameroon
2017: Nigeria 4-0 Cameroon
2017: Cameroon 1-1 Nigeria
Date: Saturday, July 6
Kick-off time: 5:00pm
Stadium venue: Alexandria Stadium