Nigeria will face Cameroon in a crucial World Cup qualifying game in Uyo on Friday. The Eagles and the Lions have a long history; mostly favourable to the Cameroonians. This means they have a psychological advantage. That is why the Eagles must be extra careful when the Lions land in Uyo; and here are tips on how to beat them.
Score first. Yep, the age old football principle. The Eagles need to score first, not only because it will help them settle quickly (an early or first goal will calm nerves); but also because we need the Cameroonian’s unsettled. From what we have seen from both the Nations Cup and the FIFA Confederations Cup, the Lions are seldom rattled, but there is always a first time. Eagles need to score first, and then they need to score again. One goal will not be enough; Eagles need to score at least two goals, to be sure.
Super Eagles must move the ball. The players cannot afford to be too fanciful, and it’s not just because it’s good football either. It is simply because they can’t afford to be caught in possession. The Cameroonian’s are big, strong and fast. If the Eagles dawdle on the ball, the odds are that they will be over-powered, the ball taken off them, and Cameroon will launch a counter. This instruction must be made very clear to the players.
Cut off the supply to Bassogog. The winger is probably the most explosive forward that the Cameroonians have, and he is their major attacking outlet. He showed it at the Nations Cup, and was in full flow at the Confederations Cup, running at defenses and constantly switching wings. And the Eagles will not only need to deny him supply, Gernot Rohr cannot afford to field middling full backs; no matter how well he is shackled, Bassogog will get a couple of chances to run, then you want solid full backs in his path.
Finally the fans must not stop singing. And we don’t mean just the Supporters Club, the whole stadium. Nigerian fans have a history of going silent when things go south, and turning against their teams when frustrated. This is not the day, and it’s not the game to ‘applaud good football, whoever is playing it’. It’s a day to stay solid behind the Eagles, no matter what happens; remember there is a second leg. We need the Eagles psychologically buoyant for 180 minutes!
If the Eagles defeat Cameroon in Uyo, Nigeria have one foot in Russia and that should be motivation enough for everybody to do the right thing, from the NFF, to the coach, the players and the fans. CAMEROON MUST FALL!