The Super Eagles of Nigeria have vowed to recreate their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) Round of 16 victory over the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon in Alexandria when both teams clash in Abidjan on Saturday at the same stage in the ongoing 34th edition of the tournament.
That day, at the Alexandria Stadium in Egypt, the Super Eagles came from 1-2 down to defeat Cameroon 3-2 and reach the quarter-finals. Odion Ighalo scored two of the goals, with Alex Iwobi, who is here in Abidjan and is expected to play a determining role on Saturday, netting the winner.
Captain Ahmed Musa, defenders William Ekong, Kenneth Omeruo, Ola Aina and Chidozie Awaziem, and forward Moses Simon, who are also in Abidjan, were involved in that encounter in North Africa.
“That game was a tough duel and brought out the best in us, especially when we went 1-2 down despite scoring first. In the dressing room, we told ourselves that we could not allow that to happen. We played for one another and we were happy to win at the end.
“Of course, we know the match on Saturday will be even tougher. The Cameroonians will be determined not to lose again, but we will give our very best and go for a win. We can do it again. We aspire to win the trophy and nothing has changed that,” Musa said on Friday.
Nigerian legends Olusegun Odegbami, Jay Jay Okocha, Augustine Eguavoen, Daniel Amokachi and Garba Lawal are among dozens of Nigerian VIPs who travelled from Nigeria to Abidjan to support the team, and who will join thousands of Cote d’Ivoire-based Nigerians to cheer the Eagles on Saturday.
NFF Technical Director Austine Eguavoen, who was on-field captain for the squad that won in Tunisia in 1994, said: “Cameroon will always come with determination and grit. We have to be even more prepared for them and deploy the greater flair and flexibility that we have.”
Odegbami played in the 1976 and 1978 tournaments as well as being a major force in the Cup-winning 1980 squad. Okocha scored seven goals in the Africa Cup of Nations and played in five tournaments (1994, 2000, 2002, 2004 and 2006), while Amokachi was also in the 1994 Cup-winning squad. Lawal played in the 2000, 2002, 2004 and 2006 finals.
Midfielder Alhassan Yusuf, injured in the contest with Equatorial Guinea on Day 2 of the competition, is back to training and could be thrown into the fray to provide steel alongside Frank Onyeka, while Alex Iwobi lubricates things in the middle of the park.
Super Eagles coach Jose Peseiro may opt for Ola Aina, Chidozie Awaziem, William Ekong, Calvin Bassey and Zaidu Sanusi at the rear, and there is the possibility of Kelechi Iheanacho playing some part with Victor Osimhen at the fore.