AFCON 2023: What Nigeria’s Super Eagles Must Do to Avoid Defeat Against Cameroon

AFCON 2023: What Nigeria’s Super Eagles Must Do to Avoid Defeat Against Cameroon

Ero Samson
updated at February 13, 2024 at 11:54 AM
In this article:
CAF Africa Cup of Nations logo
Nigeria logo
Super Eagles logo
Super Eagles
South Africa
Karl Toko Ekambi logo
K. T. Ekambi
Al-Ettifaq FC logoMCameroon logo
Victor Osimhen logo
V. Osimhen
Napoli logoFNigeria logo
William Troost-Ekong logo
W. Troost-Ekong
PAOK Saloniki logoDNigeria logo
Frank Onyeka logo
F. Onyeka
Brentford logoMNigeria logo
Alex Iwobi logo
A. Iwobi
Fulham logoFNigeria logo
Semi Ajayi logo
S. Ajayi
West Bromwich Albion logoDNigeria logo
Calvin Bassey logo
Fulham logoDNigeria logo
  • The knockout rounds of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations are upon us
  • Nigeria is slated to clash against West African neighbours Cameroon
  • Sports Brief takes a look at four things Jose Peseiro’s side must do to avoid defeat

The lead-up to the pulsating Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) clash between the Super Eagles of Nigeria and the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon continues to herald the continent’s footballing scenes.

These West African powerhouses, with a combined total of eight AFCON titles, are gearing up for another chapter in one of the tournament's most historic rivalries, which has its roots dating back to the 1960s.

AFCON, Nigeria, Super Eagles, CAF, Cameroon
Super Eagles of Nigeria players gather ahead of their AFCON clash against Guinea Bissau. Image: Issouf Sanogo.
Source: Getty Images

As the exciting encounter approaches and predictions about the potential winner flood the scene, Sports Brief outlines four things Nigeria's Super Eagles must do to secure victory against their perennial rivals.

Midfield Cohesion

The linchpin of Rigobert Song's possession-oriented play for Cameroon is undoubtedly Napoli's star, Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa. The 28-year-old midfield virtuoso will play a crucial role in generating the Indomitable Lions' endless attacks during the upcoming match.

To effectively neutralise the influential midfielder and limit his impact, Nigeria's midfield pair of Alex Iwobi and Frank Onyeka must swiftly press Anguissa quickly whenever possession is lost.

The Super Eagles disciplined defensive strategy and coordinated pressing efforts are essential to disrupting the Cameroonian rhythm and maintaining control over the game.

Halt Karl Toko Ekambi’s threat

A pivotal aspect for the Super Eagles to secure victory involves neutralising any threats posed by the talismanic forward, Karl Toko Ekambi.

The Abha club forward, who had experienced a somewhat subdued campaign at the AFCON, came alive at a critical time, spearheading his side to their sole victory in the tournament against Gambia.

Despite Toko Ekambi having a relatively quiet tournament overall, his inherent attacking instincts could pose significant dangers to the Super Eagles.

Therefore, defenders William Troost-Ekong, Calvin Bassey, and Semi Ajayi must remain on high alert to effectively contain and mitigate the forward's impact on the game.

Quick transition football

Jose Peseiro’s side also must play to their strength, which lies in the quick transition abilities they possess.

Nigeria's chances of victory heavily depend on leveraging the speed of their dynamic wingers and the striking abilities of key forward Victor Osimhen. Having a forward who boasts an excess of 30 club goals in 39 games, according to data courtesy of Whoscored, is surely a valuable asset for any title-winning side to have.

Overall compactness and discipline

The Super Eagles also have to ensure they maintain the calmness and immense compact shape that has so far seen them through to the competition's knock-out phases.

Through the opening three group fixtures, the Super Eagles allowed one of the fewest shots on goal, which appears impressive compared to the flurry of attacking threats they were faced with through these encounters.

If the team can uphold this disciplined defensive approach during the upcoming clash against Cameroon, there is a likelihood that Nigeria will keep another clean sheet against their rivals.

Ideye offers advice to Nigeria

Sports Brief in another report stressed a 2013 AFCON winner has offered advice to Nigeria’s Super Eagles ahead of the clash against Cameroon.

35-year-old Brown Ideye stressed on what Nigeria needs to do to clinch victory in the round of 16 match against the Indomitable Lions.

The former Nigerian forward also underscored the importance of Jose Peseiro's side utilising their attacking prowess more effectively.

Ero Samson photo
Ero Samson
Samson Ero is a sports journalist with a track record of over five years in the Nigerian media industry. He graduated from Nigerian Institute of Journalism (2021-2023).