One of the two African giants will exit the tournament on Saturday, while the other will progress to the quarterfinals of the continental championships
Super Eagles defender Bright Osayi-Samuel has talked up Nigeria’s chances of beating Cameroon to the quarterfinals ticket of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, Soccernet.ng reports.
Nigeria and Cameroon will lock horns on Saturday at the Stade Félix Houphouët-Boigny in Abidjan in one of the last-16 fixtures at the AFCON.
The head-to-head record favours Nigeria, as the Eagles have 12 wins in 25 meetings with the Indomitable Lions, losing only five and forcing another eight draws.
At the AFCON, however, Nigeria and Cameroon each have three wins.
Cameroon, though, have the upper hand as their wins have been in the AFCON finals, helping them to lift the trophy in 1984, 1988, and 2000, which was on Nigerian soil.
Interestingly, Nigeria and Cameroon have not looked great at this championship, with the Super Eagles coming second in Group A behind dark horse Equatorial Guinea. At the same time, the Lions needed a last-gasp win over Gambia to progress.
Osayi-Samuel knows that Cameroon will not be an easy customer for Nigeria.
The Fenerbahce defender, however, believes the Super Eagles have the right amount of experience and quality to outclass the Indomitable Lions.
“It’s knockout now; there is no free points. It’s either you win, and you are through, or you lose, and you are out,” the 26-year-old star said in an interview made available to Soccernet.ng.
“We know that can bring pressure, but if you look at our group (Super Eagles), we have players who have vast experience in this situation that we are in now. We have the players that can thrive in this situation.
“If you look around the group, everyone is confident. Everyone is looking forward to the game, even myself.
“Cameroon are a very strong team. They have got good players, but if we are focused on ourselves and look at what we can do, how we can hurt them, I think we have a very good chance of winning the game.”
Osayi-Samuel is appearing at his first AFCON and has featured in all of Nigeria’s three group matches.
The former QPR winger had his first start in the narrow 1-0 win over Guinea-Bissau on matchday three.
Contrary to the view of many, Osayi-Samuel is convinced that the Super Eagles performed well in that encounter and should be applauded for keeping a second clean sheet in three games.
“For me, it was my first start in the AFCON, so it was a great feeling for me. In general, I think we played well,” Osayi-Samuel added.
“Of course, we had a clean sheet, another one in this AFCON, so it’s positive in terms of the defence.
“Collectively, we had many chances again. We know we’ll get chances every game with the quality that we have. I think it’s now about converting those chances.
“Overall, the game was good. We are in camp now to see what we can do better in our next game against Cameroon.”
Nigeria’s game against Cameroon will kick off at 9 pm (Nigerian time) on Saturday.