Wednesday 3 July 2019

/ by Colin Udoh

Nigeria made their route to a fourth African Nations Cup title much harder when they went down to a shock defeat against Madagascar, condemning them to a second place finish and a tough bracket.

Their path to that fourth now goes potentially through hosts and seven-time winners Egypt, but first coach Gernot Rohr and his wards will have to negotiate the little matter of bitter rivals Cameroon for a place in the round of 16.

It is not a prospect that seemed to be of particularly worrying concern for the German as he contemplated the fixture on Tuesday night after the pairings were finalized
“It is a very exciting match to come,” he said. “We are preparing in the best way. Obi Mikel has a knee injury, but we have a good atmosphere in the camp and we are optimistic to reach the next round.”

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Nigeria and Cameroon have a long history of rivalry. Cameroon defeated Nigeria in the final of the Africa Cup of Nations in 1984, 1988 and 2000, but most painful for the Super Eagles was that agonizing penalty shoot-out loss in front of home fans at the National Stadium, Lagos on 13th February 2000.

In 2004, Jay Jay Okocha spearheaded a sweet 2-1 defeat of then Cup holders (as they are now) Cameroon in a quarter final match at the Stade Mustapha Ben Jannet in Monastir, Tunisia and in the 2018 FIFA World Cup African qualifying series, the Super Eagles lashed the Lions 4-0 in Uyo and were forced to a 1-1 draw in Yaounde.

Nigeria and Cameroon share eight African titles between them. While the Indomitable Lions have won five times (1984, 1988, 2000, 2002 and 2017), Nigeria were champions in 1980, 1994 and 2013.

The game is scheduled to kickoff at 4PM Nigeria time.

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