The Super Eagles of Nigeria hosts the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon on Friday 1st September 2017 in an important FIFA World Cup qualifier. The match scheduled take hold inside the Godswill Akpabio stadium, Uyo is expected to products loads of fireworks as the Eagles looks to maintain their to-spot in the group.
The Eagles sit atop Group B with six points, after beating Zambia and Algeria in their first two matches, while are currently placed second with just two points secured from draws with Algeria and Zambia.
First of, these teams are African heavyweights and the records show that the Super Eagles lead in terms of statistics in all fronts. Both sides have met 18 times and the Eagles can boast of 10 wins while the Indomitable Lions have three, with five draws in between them.
Four of those 18 matches were in previous World Cup qualification campaigns, stretching way back to 1968 (for the 1970 tournament in Mexico) and 1989 (for Italy 1990).
Nigeria claimed two wins, Cameroon one, and one match was drawn.
Their most recent meeting was in a friendly encounter which ended 3-0 in favour of the Super Eagles of Nigeria with goals from Efe Ambrose, Moses Simon and Odion Ighalo although the Indomitable lions finished the game with 10 men.
That being said, it is however important to reckon with recent form of both sides which many will agree that the Eagles must indeed be humble going into this tie. Lets not forget the key learnings from the Bafana Bafana tie. South Africa came to Nigeria, saw and conquered the Eagles 2-0 on the same ground where the upcoming tie will he held in an Africa qualifier game in June this year. Against the Bafana Bafana, the message seemed clear to get the ball forward using the wings with Moses Simon and Alex Iwobi on each side of the flank. Between the first and fifteenth minutes, the Eagles attacked but were curtailed by Bafana Bafana side who defended stoutly.
Before the end of the half, the fire burned out while the visitors waited for every opportunity to burst forward each time they got hold of the ball which would have paid off in 41′ when Akpeyi dropped the ball from a cross.
Defensively, virtually all the players were playing together for the first time which showed in the coordination. Experience was lacking. Knowing fully well how deadly Tokelo Rantie was, he enjoyed much space most of the time. That is, there was no man-marking which was why he had the space to head home cooly. The wingbacks needed to be more adventurous but didn’t show much confidence in tolling that path.
Who says the Indomitable Lions cannot beat the Super Eagles in Uyo? Recall that the Cameroonians with a team many termed as the worst they have had stunned the continent by winning the Africa cup of nations in earlier in the year. The camp was unsettled owing to disciplinary issues just weeks before the tournament but the buy dug deep, believed and did the seemingly impossible. They presented a discipline team at the cup of nations and they won it.
Cameroon in their most recent outing also saw off Morocco in their Africa cup of nations qualifier in June 2017. The Lions dominated and showed hunger until Vincent Aboubakar struck to give Cameroon the lead on the day.
This is not to say that the Eagles should approach the match with fears, but with great caution as the world knows the Lions are never a push over. With the likes of Captain John Obi Mikel, Odion Ighalo, Leon Balogun and Victor Moses are back in the squad, it is expected that the team gets its heart together and have some cohesion again as displayed in their first two world cup qualifier games.
The indomitable Lions of Cameroon on the African scene have always proven to be a very resilient and resolute side any day any time, hence, the Super Eagles must thread with caution and avoid all distractions, put the last game behind and focus on a killer mission this time. The Eagles must therefor approach this tie with all humility and take on the Lions like its the deciding match of the group.