Super Eagles of Nigeria are faced with a double header FIFA Russia 2018 qualifier against the Indomitable Lions of Cameroun. Nigeria plays first at home in Uyo tomorrow before heading out to Yaounde three days later to battle the Lions in the second leg.
Nigeria and Cameroun are two of the strongest and most successful football nations in Africa. The rivalry between the sides is also second to none.
Whenever the history of a most disappointing encounter for Nigeria in the game is recalled to mind, the finals of the CAF nations cup Ghana-Nigeria 2000 readily come to mind.
Nigeria had battled from two goals down to equalize against the powerfully built Camerounians only to lose in a controversial penalty shootout. It was a rather forgetful event for most Nigerians as the team led by Sunday Oliseh failed to deliver the top price right on home soil at the National Stadium Surulere.
The Super Eagles currently sit pretty on top of the table in Group B of the qualifying rounds having taken maximum points away from Zamibia and at home against Algeria.
Cameroun is the current African champions and have had a bit of better preparation for this encounter. They participated in the FIFA Confederations Cup in June but failed to make it beyond the group stage.
On this side, the Super Eagles shocked virtually all Nigerians when they were lost at home against South Africa – Their first competitive loss against the Bafana Bafana.
That performance has created some form of pessimism on the positive start of Gernot Rohr as Super Eagles manager. A lot of people now doubt the possibility of the emergence of another ‘great’ national team under the guidance of the German coach.
Therefore, the encounters against the Indomitable Lions represent a great opportunity for the team to tighten their grip on top of the group and convince millions of Nigerians that Russia 2018 is a done deal.
To achieve that, the Super Eagles must get maximum points at home and at least another point in Yaounde on Tuesday next week. There is certainly no room for another type of the performance against South Africa.
Invited player are: Moses Simon, Uche Agbo, Leon Balogun, John Ogu, Anthony Nwakaeme, Victor Moses, Mikel Obi, Ogenyi Onazi, Oghenekaro Etebo, Kelechi Iheanacho, William Ekong, Ahmed Musa, Chidozie Awaziem, Ola Aina, Daniel Akpeyi, Ikechukwu Ezenwa, Mikel Agu, Odion Ighalo, Wilfred Ndidi, Dele Alampasu, Elderson Echiejile, Aaron Samuel and Tyronne Ebuehi.
Fact: Leon Balogun has never lost a competitive match for the Eagles and is expected to start at the heart of the defense with Willian Troost Ekong.
Invited players are: Ondoa Frabrice, Goda Jules, Bokwe Georges, Ngadeu Ngadjui, Michael, Teikeu Adolphe, Mabouka Ernest, Castelletto Jean Charles, Leuko Serge,Fai Collins, Banana Yaya, Nouhou Tolo, Mandjeck Georges, Siani Sébastien,. Franck Zambo Anguissa. Choupo Moting,Aboubakar Vincent, Moukandjo Benjamin, Bassogog Christian, Toko Ekambi, Karl Nsame Jean Pierre, Moumi Ngamaleu and Fabrice Olinga.
Head to head
Super Eagles who are looking for their 11th win over the Indomitable Lions. In 20 previous encounters, Nigeria have been winners 10 times, with Cameroon winning four times and six matches drawn.
It will go down to the smallest details and tactical discipline of each team tomorrow. If the Super Eagles score first, then they can wait for the Lions to come out and catch them on the counter for another.
Should the match drag into the second half with no goals, the capacity to hold the nerves and not make any sloppy mistakes will be required.
A 2-1 home win for the home side is expected in a tense, physical engaging match.