That Cameroon defeated heavy favourites, Senegal at the on-going Africa Cup of Nations, to advance to the Semi Finals, should not be enough reason for any supporter of the Super Eagles to panic. But given the similarities between the Nigeria Super Eagles and the Teranga Lions, any one with foresight should look at the upcoming double-clash in August, and try to fathom what might be going through the mind of Hugo Broos, the coach of the Lions.
Senegal were heavy odds-on favourites to defeat Cameroon, Nigeria will be too. The form of the Super Eagles in the World Cup qualifiers has got Africa talking. No team wants to face Nigeria now. Just as nobody wanted to face the ultra-talented Senegalese at the Nations Cup. But the Lions confidently stared them down. The Cameroonians arrived at the stadium singing and dancing, then went on to execute a near perfect game-plan.
These Cameroonians will not be afraid of the Eagles, we must show them respect, then beat them!
The Lions and the Eagles have similar players. Yep, one of the exciting things about the current Eagles is the strength at almost every position. That is what the Senegalese also have; for every player we hold in high esteem, the Lions have someone similar.
The doppelgangers in the two teams are: Keita Balde is magical on the wings, just like Victor Moses. Gana Gueye is Mikel Mark II, but he was actually more effective than Mikel in the Premiership last season, and is playing great for Everton this season. Saido Mane and Alex Iwobi will play the same positions with similar result; Mame Biram Diouf may not have the skills of Iheanacho, but his goal scoring record is proven; in France, they call Henri Saviet ‘the new Thierry Henry’ even though he plays as a midfielder, Oghenekaro Etebo anyone? Oh, and Senegal had Kalidou Koulibaly in defence. Troost Ekong.
Cameroon came with a clear game plan and earned their victory. They knew if they stood toe-to-toe with Senegal, they will lose. They simply conceded possession to the more skilful Senegalese and calmly waited for counter-attacking chances. It almost worked. For the Eagles, all they will do is play the same way and hold out for the same result, or try and steal all three points. Then, they will go all out for a victory in Yaounde, or wherever their fancy carries them on their patch.
It is critical that the Eagles get three of the six points available in that encounter, anything less than that will open the door for another team to harass the current Group B leaders. The confidence of the Lions has taken a shot in the arm with the victory over Senegal, and should they win the Nations Cup, the Super Eagles must be doubly-ready for a titanic battle when the Lions land.