The Super Eagles face the Indomitable Lions’ hurdle, hoping to cement its place at the Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup
When the world soccer governing body, Federation International Football of Association, FIFA, announced September 1st and 4th as dates for the double header between the Super Eagles of Nigeria and the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon in the Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, it became crystal clear that with a possible six points garnered from Uyo, Nigeria and Yaoundé, Cameroon, by the Super Eagles, it will surely secure them the world cup ticket with two games to spare.
In the space of four days, both teams will file out at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo and the Yaoundé International Stadium, which will certainly be a deciding factor for all the countries in the group.
Though, the Super Eagles top the group with six points from two games, having defeated the Chipolopolo of Zambia 2-1 in Ndola, Zambia and Carthage Fennecs of Algeria 3-1 in Uyo, Nigeria. Cameroon on the other hand has two points from two games, having played a 1-1 draw against Algeria and Zambia in Douala and Algiers respectively, while both Algeria and Zambia have one point apiece.
Victory for Cameroon in both legs will move the francophone country to eight points, regardless of the results from the double header between Algeria and Zambia, who will also play each other in Algiers and Ndola the same date the other two top teams in the group trade tackles.
Following the much anticipated match between the two bitter rivals in African football (Nigeria and Cameroon), coach of the Super Eagles, Gernot Rohr, has promised Nigerians victory, despite recording a 2-0 home defeat at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo, Akwa Ibom, against the Bafana Bafana of South Africa in the 2019 African Cup of Nations qualifiers.
The German-French born Rohr, has pledged not to leave any stone unturned in ensuring that Nigeria come out victorious at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium. The June 5th 2017 loss to South Africa was the first time Rohr will lose a match since he took over the helms of affairs as the coach of the national team.
Though, Rohr blame the loss to South Africa on the unavailability of his star players who pulled out of the match due to injury, and also his decision not to invite his China based stars, with the hope of giving new invitees into the Super Eagles fold chances to integrate into the team.
If the Super Eagles could gather six points in the double header against the Cameroonian, the team who would mathematically have one foot in Russia, needs just a point in the remaining two fixtures to feature in its sixth world cup tournament.
The chances of Nigeria qualifying for the world cup mundial looks bright after her first two matches, but the failure of the national team to play any competitive football match since June 5, sends jittery in the spines of some section of soccer enthusiasts and analysts.
Chinedu Amakor, a female soccer analyst, is of the opinion that the failure of the Super Eagles not to play any competitive football or friendly match against a big team is a source of concern. “We should not forget that Cameroon participated in the FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia. Though, they may not have performed well, but the players have gel and will be a threat to Nigeria when both teams meet. The Nigeria coaching crew need to be on top of the game and also strategize on how to surmount the pressure from the Cameroonian midfield and attack, if we are to come out victorious”.
Segun Odegbami, an ex-international believes that the Super Eagles will scale the Indomitable Lions hurdle in Uyo. Odegbami added that the Super Eagles needs a win in Uyo, and could probably salvage a draw in Yaoundé would not be a bad result.
In the same vein, Jonathan Akpoborie, another ex-international says that the Cameroon cannot stop the Super Eagles from going to Russia. “The Super Eagles have started brightly in the qualifying series, and I don’t think Cameroon could stop the team from getting the Russia ticket”.
With less than three weeks to the crucial tie, the Super Eagles coaching crew are still searching for a replacement for Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club goal tender, Carl Ikeme, who was diagnosed of leukemia before the commencement of the new soccer season. The search for a replacement for Ikeme has been the center of debate in the nation’s soccer enclave, with some section of analysts and enthusiasts calling for the recall of Vincent Enyeama back into the Super Eagles fold.
Rohr had earlier announced that he was going to drop Chippa United goal keeper, Daniel Akpeyi, after the abysmal performance of the South African based goal tender in the last match for the Super Eagles.
Ikechukwu Ezenwa, Ifeanyi Ubah Football Club goal keeper, who is presently the captain of the Home Based Super Eagles, is also not tipped by the gaffer of replacing Ikeme. Feirense Football Club goal keeper, Dele Alampasu is also out of the radar of replacing Ikeme, who had been outstanding since making his debut for the Super Eagles under former Super Eagles coach, Sunday Oliseh.
Last week, Rohr disclosed that he could be forced to invite goal keeper Austin Ejide for Cameroon match. Ejide had been the second choice goal keeper behind Enyeama since Ejide made his debut for the Super Eagles in 2005.
Rohr has sought the services of Pionetti, an Italian goalkeeper trainer to help in reshaping the goal keeping lapses the team is currently facing. Plateau United Football Club goal keeper, Dele Ajiboye and Rivers United goal keeper, Odah Okiemute are presently on the radar of Rohr, who has informed the new goal keepers trainer to keep tab on the two home based keeper, who are tipped of filling the vacuum left by Ikeme.