AFCON 2023: What to expect as Nigeria face Cameroon in last 16

It is business time at the Africa Cup of Nations as the competition enters the round of 16 in Cote d’Ivoire.

The group stage matches ended Wednesday with underdogs acquiring giant-killing status after sending fancied opposition parking.

The remaining 16 teams will fancy their chances of reaching the quarter-finals beginning this weekend until January 30.

Blockbuster ties including Nigeria taking on Cameroon on Saturday are set to attract global attention.

The match at the Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium, Abidjan is expected to have fireworks considering this will be the eighth meeting between three-time winners Nigeria and five-time champions Cameroon at the Afcon.

The round of 16 encounter will be the 26th meeting between both countries in all competitions.

Cameroon won the final matches of the 1984, 1988 and 2000 Afcon tournaments, while the Eagles won the bronze-medal match 2-1 in 1992, defeated then Cup holders Cameroon 2-1 in the 2004 quarter-finals and won 3-2 in the Round of 16 in Egypt four years ago.

Striker Odion Ighalo grabbed a brace in Egypt and Alex Iwobi sealed the win for the Super Eagles.

Nigeria booked a place in the next round after finishing above Ivory Coast and Guinea-Bissau but behind table toppers Equatorial Guinea in Group A in this year’s showpiece.

Cameroon heads into the last 16 thanks to a second-place finish in Group C behind reigning champions Senegal.

The Indomitable Lions finished above third-place side Guinea on goals scored, but only qualified thanks to a dramatic 3-2 victory over Gambia on matchday three.

Nigeria hitman Victor Osimhen who guided Napoli to the Serie A title last season, is expected to lead the line.

At the same time, Georges-Kévin Nkoudou who impressed for Cameroon in the group stage, with a tournament-high 10 chances created for teammates will be a key player for Cameroon.

Cameroon coach Rigobert Song faces a tough call in goal. First-choice goalkeeper Andre Onana was dropped for the crucial 3-2 win.

Onana’s cousin, Fabrice Ondoa, took his place against The Gambia and hopes to keep his spot in what’s becoming a tough tournament for the Manchester United stopper.

Nigeria have taken a defensive approach in the group stage. This led to the team scoring only three goals while conceding once, to become one of the four teams to concede fewer goals in the competition. Senegal, Mali and Morocco are the others.

Jose Peseiro-led Super Eagles will likely take a cautious approach and try to hit the Indomitable Lions via counterattack.

Cameroon have shipped out six goals and their defense remains a work in progress.

Whichever team that executes a tactical masterplan and utilise its chances will qualify for the quarter-finals.


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