Nigeria and Cameroon are set to renew their rivalry in the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) during a round of 16 clash at the Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium in Ivory Coast, according to PUNCH Sports Extra.
The Eagles secured the second spot in Group A, trailing behind Equatorial Guinea, while Rigobert Song’s team advanced with a dramatic 3-2 comeback victory against The Gambia, finishing second in Group C behind Senegal.
Eager to avoid a repeat of their previous round of 16 exit, where they were eliminated by Tunisia in the last edition, the Eagles, under the leadership of Jose Peseiro, intend to maintain their successful 3-4-3 formation. This formation transforms into a five-defender setup (three center-backs and two full-backs) during defensive phases, causing frustration for opposing teams.
Peseiro is likely to stick with the players who have brought the team to this stage, including William Troost-Ekong, if fit, Alex Iwobi, and Ademola Lookman. Speaking ahead of the game, Peseiro emphasized his commitment to the current strategy, stating, “At least one goal, we’ll attack well and defend together, you do that and we win.”
Despite struggling to find the net, Peseiro’s team has created the most goal-scoring opportunities in the tournament, prompting the coach to maintain confidence in the current lineup and formation.
Austin Eguavoen, the Technical Director of the Nigerian Football Federation and a former captain of the 1994 AFCON-winning squad, believes that the Eagles can overcome the Indomitable Lions with flair and flexibility.
On the other side, Cameroon’s head coach, Rigobert Song, acknowledges the threat Nigeria poses and emphasizes a comprehensive strategy to counter the formidable attack led by Victor Osimhen. While praising Osimhen as a “wonderful striker,” Song underscores that Cameroon’s focus is on the entire Nigerian squad, stating, “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.”
With the potential return of Vincent Aboubakar from injury, Cameroon may opt to include the center-forward in the starting lineup against the Eagles.