At 9 p.m. on Saturday, January 27, two of the biggest rivals in African football, Cameroon and Nigeria will go head to head in the 2023 AFCON round of 16 at the Stade Félix Houphouët-Boigny in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
This meeting will make it the 8th time the Super Eagles of Nigeria and the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon are meeting in AFCON. And it is a meeting between a solid defense and goals-shy attack (Nigeria) and a free-scoring and loose defense (Cameroon).
The last time they met in the tournament was in the 2019 AFCON round of 16 in which Nigeria beat the Indomitable Lions 3-2 in Egypt. Nigeria went on to finish third in the edition of the tournament.
Altogether, the Super Eagles have recorded 3 wins against Cameroon in the tournament same as the Indomitable Lions and they have both shared the spoils once.
The interesting part is that Cameroon have done more damage to Nigeria than any other country in the tournament because their three wins against the Eagles were recorded in the final of the tournament.
Note that Nigeria who currently have three AFCON titles would have won the tournament at least six times if Cameroon had not gotten in their way. The Indomitable Lions beat Nigeria in the final in 1984 in Ivory Coast, in 1988 in Morocco, and in 2000 in Lagos.
This means that out of the five AFCON titles Cameroon currently have, they won three of them by beating the Super Eagles in the final.
This makes every game involving the two West African giants tense affairs and their meeting on Saturday night will not be any different.
Interestingly, when Cameroon prevented Nigeria from Winning the 1984 AFCON, they did that at the Stade Félix Houphouët-Boigny in Abidjan. This should give the Eagles more desire to knock out the Indomitable Lions on Saturday night.
Nigeria vs Cameroon: Team News
The good news for the Super Eagles is that the team’s midfielder, Alhassan Yusuf has resumed full training after sustaining an injury during the Super Eagles’ 1-1 draw with Equatorial Guinea on January 14.
This is a big plus for coach Jose Peseiro because Yusuf was seen as the best player in the Eagles’ team during the disappointing draw.
Also, Eagles’ vice-captain, William Troost-Ekong has returned to full fitness after sustaining an injury during Nigeria’s 1-0 win over Ivory Coast on January 18.
As for coach Rigobert Song, he has the opportunity to select Cameroon’s veteran forwards, Vincent Aboubakar and Clinton Njie for the 2023 AFCON round of 16 game.
The players who have scored a goal each against Nigeria in the past have not played a game in the ongoing tournament due to fitness issues. Hence, they might open their accounts against the Super Eagles on Saturday night.
The coach is not expected to use calamitous Manchester United goalkeeper, Andre Onana. He is most likely to stick with Fabrice Ondoa who was between the sticks when Cameroon defeated Gambia 3-2 on January 23.
Nigeria’s probable starting lineup: Nwabali, Aina, Bassey, Ekong, Ajayi, Iwobi, Yusuf, Onyeka, Chukwueze, Osimhen, Lookman
Cameroon’s probable starting lineup:
Ondoa, Castelletto, Wooh, Tolo, Mbiayi, Ntcham, Anguissa, Yongwa, Ekambi, Aboubakar, N’Koudou
Prediction: Nigeria 2-1 Cameroon
Nigeria, who have recorded two wins and two draws in their last five meetings with Cameroon, are expected to knockout the Indomitable Lions from the 2023 AFCON on Saturday night.
The two giants of African football struggled throughout the group stage, but Nigeria, who have conceded just a goal and scored three in three group stage games, are expected to triumph over Cameroon, who conceded six goals and scored five goals in three group stage games.
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