Nigeria-Cameroon. This is undoubtedly the most anticipated fixture of the round of 16 of the Africa Cup of Nations, Cote d’Ivoire 2023.
The match will be played at the Stade Félix Houphouët-Boigny in Abidjan, a stadium which brings back many memories for both teams. It was in fact in this iconic arena that the Indomitable Lions won their very first trophy in the competition in 1984 against the Super Eagles by 3-1.
Post the historic lifting of the title, Cameroon won two final against Nigeria in 1988 in Morocco and in 2000 in Nigeria.
The Super Eagles have however dominated the most recent meetings between the two sides. They claimed victory during the quarter-finals in the 2004 edition played in Tunisia as well as the a round of 16 win during the 2019 showpiece in Egypt.
Housed in Group A of the competition, Nigeria did not really suffer to obtain its ticket for the second round. After a draw (1-1) against Guinea during their first outing, José Peseiro and his team won edged Cote d’Ivoire by 1-0 before getting the same result over Guinea-Bissau to secure their ticket.
Cameroon had a slightly more difficult journey after playing out to a 1-1 draw to Guinea, losing 3-1 to Senegal and eventually fought back for a 3-2 win over The Gambia.
A total of eight Africa Cup of Nations trophies is spread amongst the two nations: Five for the Indomitable Lions (1984, 1988, 2000, 2002 and 2017) and three for the Super Eagles (1980, 1994 and 2013)
Coaches’ comments ahead of the clash
José Peseiro – Nigeria coach
“It’s a difficult match. We are in the round of 16 and playing against a great team. We don’t want to concede, we want to score a goal and maintain our lead. We expect that history will not repeat itself at the Stade Félix Houphouët-Boigny. Even if the statistics are not for us, we are going to play. It is a mission that has been entrusted to us and we are going to try to carry it out. We want to win; we want to stay in this tournament until the end.”
Moses Simon – Nigeria striker
“We feel good. We take the matches one after the other and we hope to do like in the previous matches. In 2019 we played against Cameroon, we know they are strong, and I think today they are better than in 2019 and we also improved as well. We know their weak points and so we will take the match as it comes”.
Rigobert Song, Cameroon coach
“We know what we need to do and where we need to go. We have prepared and remain focused. We started slowly, moving up gradually. At this stage of the competition, I think there are no more things to look for. In three matches, I no longer have the right to calculate, I have to correct what didn’t work. I will do everything necessary to obtain a positive result”.
Faris Pemi Moumbagna, Cameroon striker
“We prepared well, the atmosphere is good in the group. We are going to stay in the same state of mind and continue to give the best of us. We are going to approach this match with 200% effort. We are going to give everything on the pitch like we did against Gambia, we are not going to give up”.
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