8, July 2017
The high rating the Super Eagles enjoyed before their embarrassing defeat in the hands of the Bafana Bafana of South Africa in Uyo last month has dropped. With the 2018 World Cup qualifying match between Nigeria and Cameroon approaching, the respect for the Indomitable Lions among Nigerian football fans is growing bigger. Cameroon’s performance at the just concluded FIFA Confederations Cup – albeit unimpressive – gives Nigerians enough reason to worry. The Lions showed promise and with a few changes, particularly in the attack, the team can stand their own anywhere in the world.
While Cameroon coach, Hugo Broos participated in the 2017 AFCON – which they won – and the recently concluded FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia, Rohr has been engaged in friendly matches and played only one competitive match – the loss against South Africa, since the victory over Algeria in November last year. Can Nigeria handle Cameroon? The question was put to former Nigeria international and U-17 World Cup winning coach, Emmanuel Amuneke. His answer was in the affirmative. “Yes, we can handle Cameroon by remaining focussed and believing in our ability. You also have to accept that the opponent you are playing is better than you. With that in mind one can fight one’s opponent with respect and the motivation to do battle.”
Amuneke said, “in the game against South Africa, the opponents were better tactically, individually and collectively. They knew each other very well and knew they were playing Nigeria, a very strong team. “What we need do is to sit down, analyse the last game and seek solutions to where we went wrong before the Cameroon match. Cameroon too has a lot of pedigree and any match involving Nigeria and Cameroon is always tough. Our players must have that in mind.” Veteran coach, Tunde Disu believes the Eagles need a more aggressive midfield. “Most of our midfielders are defensive minded. Mikel, Onazi, Ndidi are all defensive midfielders. We need more aggression from the midfield so that the attack can be given more bite.”
He also believes that with the expected return of Mikel Obi, Victor Moses and Leon Balogun the Coach Rohr-tutored team could pose a better force than the one against the Bafana Bafana. Veteran journalist and chairman of Akwa United, Paul Bassey said, “I align with those who say we can beat Bafana Bafana in South Africa only if we use the right calibre of players and do the right thing tactically. When we face Cameroon, we need our best legs. The coach must go for players who can stand the aggressive and tough-playing Cameroonians; not school boys, because playing Cameroon is not a child’s play. I believe we can beat the Indomitable Lions if the right decisions are made by the coaching staff and the players.”
Amuneke advised Nigerians to show more support to the Super Eagles. The team need mass support from Nigerians to excel. Support can actually motivate them. Fans should know they have a very important role to play in the quest to beat Cameroon and go to Russia 2018.” He said Nigeria is blessed with a good coach in Gernot Rohr. “We have a very good coach who has been doing a wonderful job. We have to support him and show him love.”