Any match between Nigeria and Cameroon is always a tense affair irrespective of the competition. It is a match between two fierce rivals who have had lots of history between each other. Just four days ago, the first friendly between the two sides ended in a victory for the indomitable Lions.
The Super Eagles of Nigeria lost the match through a solitary first-half goal from Andre-Frank Anguissa, despite having more chances. It was the Fulham’s midfielder who struck with aplomb in the 34 minutes of the match to the delight of his coach Toni Conceicao. This was the first time after three games that Nigeria would be losing to Cameroon.
Cameroon and Nigeria will meet again at the Wiener Neustadter Stadium, Austria on Tuesday evening. Here, we take a look at the things the Super Eagles should do in order to earn their bragging rights and put a smile on the faces of millions of Nigerians.
The super Eagles don’t boast of creative midfielders, except Alex Iwobi who was far from good in the last game. Another thing the indomitable Lions of Cameroon did in the last match was to crowd the midfield and make the midfield difficult for the Super Eagles to create from the middle of the park, hence making Iwobi’s job very difficult. To solve this, Nigeria’s Coach Gernot Rohr must find a way of freeing Iwobi or use more of his wingers. Wing play would stretch the Cameroonians and create openings in their defence which can be exploited by the Super Eagles.
Paul Onuachu is expected to start again on Tuesday and the advantage he has his is height. On Friday, he really threatened once when his header was on target from a Kelechi Iheanacho’s cross. Coach Genort Rohr should utilize this advantage especially with the fact that the Cameroon defence struggled to deal with the few crosses made for Onuachu.
The last game clearly showed that the deficiency of the Cameroon team was from the wings, which ironically was where the Super Eagles tired exploiting especially in the second half with the introduction of Ahmed Musa and debutant Anayo Iwuala. The Nigerian coach should start with this from the inception of the game and take advantage of the pacy wingers in his squad. Moses Simon should start, same as Captain Ahmed Musa.
In modern football, every player is involved in the team’s attack and defending. It is even more important if the team style is from the wings. The Withdrawal of Aina and Ebuehi owing to injuries have dealt the team a big blow; however Shehu Abdullahi and Sanusi should be tasked to bomb forward and make runs into space to support the attackers and put in floating or whipped crosses.
Genort Rohr can also tweak his formation and play a 3-5-2 formation, which can allow Moses Simon play at Wing Back where he can run at the Cameroon defence with his mazy runs and tricky pace.
Genort Rohr has always been known to be a pragmatic coach with His ‘almost unchanged’ formation being the 4-3-3 formation. Perhaps, a switch in formation to a 3-5-2 or 4-4-2 will disrupt the tactics of the Cameroonians, who aren’t very dangerous in their attack. Both formations will allow the Nigerian Team play wide, with Ndidi and Etebo being able to hold the midfield effectively, freeing the forwards. This formation would also bring out the best of his most performing attackers in Euroepe – Onuachu and Iheanacho, the latter who performs better in a supporting striker role, as we saw with his club in the just concluded European season.
Tuesday game is another chance for the super Eagles to earn their bragging right against their African neighbors. It should be noted that Gernot Rohr’s men have now failed to score in three of their last seven outings.
Friday’s defeat was Nigeria’s first defeat in six games and Gernot Rohr’s first defeat to Cameroon in 4 Games. It will be interesting to see how the Super Eagles bounce back. The second leg of this friendly encounter scheduled for Tuesday, June 8 2021 will be the 25 time both teams will be facing each other; time is 17:00 (West African Time)