The Super Eagles of Nigeria, after a shameful loss to Bareas of Madagascar came 2nd on the table in group B and are set to face the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon, their longtime rivals in the AFCON competition.
The Super Eagles kick started their first game of the AFCON2019 hosted by Egypt on Saturday, June 22nd by a 1-0 win against Burundi at the Alexandria Stadium. The first half of the game ended in a goalless draw but the Super Eagles took the lead when Nigerian Striker Odion Ighalo scored a goal in the 77th minute of the game. The Super Eagles also won their second match of the tournament on the 26th of June against Guinea with a glancing header in the 73rd minute of the game from defender Kenneth Omeruo making them the top team in group B. However, the Super Eagles’ luck ran out in their last group stage game against Madagascar who trashed Nigeria 2 – 0. Thus, Nigeria finished second place on the table with 6 points while Madagascar topped the table with 7 points.
Nigeria is set to face defending champions, Cameroon, their longtime rival in the round of 16 of the AFCON2019 competition on Saturday, July 6, 2019 by 5pm. 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 ever 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.
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’s loaned 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.
However, Super Eagles Captain, John mikel Obi has been ruled out of the match and could possibly miss out of the rest of the tournament due to a sprained knee during the Nigeria defeat to Madagascar last weekend. He was replaced in the 59th minute with Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi in the game and after several checks by the medical staff; it was decided to allow him rest to prevent further aggravation of the injury.
Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana is also yet to concede in this summer’s tournament and will retain the gloves for Cameroon.
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.
Georges Mandjeck missed the final group game altogether but will win his 50th cap if he returns on Saturday, while Paris Saint-Germain’s Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting is expected to start behind the strikers.
Nigeria possible starting lineup: Akpeyi; Awaziem, Omeruo, Balogun, Aina; Etebo, Ndidi; Simon, Iwobi, Musa; Ighalo
Cameroon possible starting lineup: Onana; Fai, Ngadeu-Ngadjui, Yaya, Oyongo; Zambo Anguissa, Mandjeck, N’Jie; Choupo-Moting; Bahoken, Toko Ekambi
We can only cross fingers and wait for the victor in the clash tomorrow at the Alexandria stadium as fans predict who will win the match.
Report by Oyaniyi Samson