The first of a brace of consecutive international matches between these two African giants kick off on Friday, with fans anticipating an interesting clash despite the limiting conditions faced by the two teams
After claiming victories over the Benin Republic and Lesotho in March, the Super Eagles take on the Cameroonian national team on Friday in only their third match of 2021.
The two former African champions then clash again four days later as both sides speed up preparations for the 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign, starting in September.
Cameroon and Nigeria boast eight African Cup of Nations titles between them, and it is rarely a friendly encounter when these two titans clash.
Anticipation for these back-to-back friendly games has, however, been dampened a bit by a wave of player withdrawals.
But the two head coaches can still call on several top stars as the Indomitable Lions go for their first victory over the Super Eagles in more than 20 years.
In 22 matches recorded between Cameroon and Nigeria, the Lions have only ever won four against their West African brothers, three of which were from open play.
Three of those wins, however, earned the Cameroonians three Afcon titles, including their penalty shootout victory at Ghana/Nigeria 2000 after full-time scores stood at 2-2.
But the Super Eagles have not lost to their next-door neighbours since then, triumphing in five of the subsequent six matches.
The latest of that winning streak arrived at the quarterfinals of Egypt 2019 when an Odion Ighalo-inspired Nigerian team forced a 3-2 defeat down the throat of their arch-rivals.
Head coach Gernot Rohr has had to hand late call-ups to Sparta Trnava defender Anthony Izuchukwu and Galatasaray’s youngster Valentine Ozornwafor as he battles with a string of player withdrawals.
But with Kelechi Iheanacho, Paul Onuachu, and Anayo Iwuala in camp, the Eagles should deal with the absence of Napoli’s Victor Osimhen and Rangers’ Joe Aribo without much fuss.
Cameroon are not without their challenges, though, with the Cameroonian FA having to call up Royal Excel Mouscron winger Serge Tabekou in place of injured Lille ace Jean Onana.
But coach Antonio Conceicao can count on the talents of his captain Bayern Munich striker Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting to shoot down Friday’s foes.
Competition: An international friendly match
Venue: Weiner Neustadt Stadium, Austria
Date: Friday, June 4.
Kickoff time: 7.30 pm (Nigerian time)
Date, Venue and kick off time.— 🇳🇬 Super Eagles (@NGSuperEagles) May 23, 2021
International friendly match.
🆚 @FecafootOfficie #SoarSuperEagles #team9jastrong #NGACAM pic.twitter.com/OUJzOPMfdF
Nigeria possible starting line-up (4-2-3-1):
Okoye; Abdullahi, Troost-Ekong, Awaziem, Collins; Ndidi, Etebo; Iwobi, Iheanacho, Iwuala; Onuachu.
Cameroon possible starting line-up (4-3-3):
Onana; Mbaizo, Onguéné, Moukoudi, Ngah; Castelletto, Kunde, Hongla; Choupo-Moting, Njie, Aboubakar
Cameroon will host the next Afcon championship, with Nigeria already tipped as one of the favourites, having qualified without losing a game.
Taking a closer look at the details, the Super Eagles have lost just one of their last ten matches (a one-nil friendly defeat to Algeria), a run of games that include a draw against former world champions Brazil.
Still, it’s a local derby when these two teams meet, and the best side on the day often always wins.
Betting tip: Nigeria to win, and both teams to score.
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