In a much-anticipated encounter, Nigeria and Cameroon are set to renew their historic rivalry in the round of 16 of the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations at the Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium in Ivory Coast today, Ogunwatch reports.
The Eagles, finishing second in Group A behind Equatorial Guinea, are determined to avoid a repeat of their round-of-16 exit at the hands of Tunisia in the previous edition. Meanwhile, Cameroon, securing progression with a dramatic 3-2 comeback win against The Gambia, finished second in Group C behind Senegal.
Nigeria’s head coach, Jose Peseiro, aims to steer his team to their first AFCON quarterfinal, hinting at maintaining the 3-4-3 formation that proved successful against Ivory Coast and Guinea-Bissau. The formation transforms to five defenders when defending, posing a challenge to the opposition.
Peseiro expressed confidence in his team, stating, “At least one goal; we’ll attack well and defend together; you do that, and we win.” He emphasized sticking to the current strategy and formation, citing the team’s statistics as the competition’s top creators despite struggling to convert chances.
The Nigerian Football Federation Technical Director, Austin Eguavoen, echoed the need for flair and flexibility against the determined Cameroon side, emphasizing the Eagles’ potential to overcome the Indomitable Lions.
Cameroon’s head coach, Rigobert Song, acknowledges the threat Nigeria poses and recognizes the prowess of Victor Osimhen, whom he hailed as a “wonderful striker.” However, Song emphasized that Cameroon’s strategy extends beyond an individual player, focusing on the entire Nigerian squad.
“We respect him (Osimhen). He’s a wonderful striker. But our concentration is not just on him. It is on the entire team. We know what we need to do, and our strategy is in place. We know that our main focus is for Nigeria. They are a strong team. We are doing everything because we are here to win,” Song stated.
With reports suggesting the return of Vincent Aboubakar from injury, Cameroon appears poised to bolster its attacking options. The match promises to be a spectacle as both teams vie for a spot in the quarter-finals of the prestigious continental tournament.