AFCON 2019: Cameroon and Nigeria Rekindle The Great Football Rivalry
London, July 6, 2019 (AltAfrica)-Super Eagles of Nigeria and the Africna Nations Cup defending champions, The Indomitable Lions of Cameroon, two of Africa’s most successful teams, will go head-to-head vying for a place in the quarter-finals of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Alexandria on Saturday (today), in a potentially explosive tie.
Both sides finished second in their respective groups, which means a victory for any of the team will see a potential showdown with Egypt in the quarter-final, if the hosts beat their last 16 foes South Africa in Cairo.
The Super Eagles have come under harsh criticisms back home, having been unconvincing so far in this tournament, and a shock 2-0 defeat to Madagascar didn’t help matters either.
But the three-time winners of the tournament would be hoping to bounce back with a win over their eternal rivals, who beat the Eagles thrice in previous finals to emerge champions.
Like Nigeria, Cameroon will feel that they should have topped their group after collecting four points from their opening two games, but their final match against Benin, which ended 0-0, saw Ghana’s Black Stars climb to top of Group F on superior goals.
The Indomitable Lions remain unbeaten in their seven outings so far this year and were last beaten in the competition in 2015, but three of their last four games have ended in draws. And their second-place finish leaves them with a much more difficult route through the rest of the competition.
Nigeria are expected to welcome some key first-team players back into their starting XI for this match after naming a second-string side against Madagascar.
Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi, Leicester City’s Wilfred Ndidi and Chelsea loanee Kenneth Omeruo are among the names likely to return.
Moses Simon should also regain his place, while Daniel Akpeyi will expect to be recalled in goal, after keeping clean sheets in the opening two group games.
Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana is also yet to concede in this summer’s tournament and will retain his gloves for the Lions.
Seedorf made four changes for their final group game against Benin and could welcome Clinton N’Jie and Gaetan Bong back into this starting XI for this one.
Cameroon have not beaten Nigeria in any competition since 2000, when they claimed one of their five Africa Cup of Nations trophies with a penalty shootout victory in the final.
Indeed, the Indomitable Lions have only beaten Nigeria four times in 22 previous meetings, but remarkably, three of those victories have come in the final of this competition.
More recently Nigeria have won four and lost none of the last five contests, including a 5-1 aggregate triumph to seal their place at the 2018 World Cup. Punch