The dust has settled on the group stage of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, leaving us with 16 teams ready to battle for supremacy in Cote d’Ivoire
Nigeria’s football icon, Segun Odegbami, is confident that the Super Eagles will secure victory against Cameroon in their upcoming clash on Saturday during the last-16 stage of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations in Cote d’Ivoire, Soccernet.ng reports.
Both teams, despite their football pedigree, have faced criticism from fans for underwhelming performances in the tournament so far.
Nigeria managed to win two and draw one of their initial three games, securing a second-place finish in Group A.
On the other hand, Cameroon’s journey to the knockout rounds involved drawing one, losing another, and narrowly clinching a last-minute win over Gambia.
The history between the two sides at AFCON adds an extra layer of anticipation, with Cameroon triumphing over Nigeria at three different finals to claim the AFCON trophy.
Interestingly, only Egypt’s Pharaohs have bested Cameroon more times than Nigeria at the AFCON, with the Super Eagles notching three victories in seven encounters.
Legendary Cameroonian footballer Roger Milla has hinted at the unpredictability of the upcoming match, but Nigeria’s 1980 AFCON hero, Odegbami, remains optimistic.
Odegbami expects a high-quality game as two African powerhouses go head-to-head, but his confidence in Nigeria’s success stems from one key factor: the impeccable playing surface at the Félix Houphouet Boigny stadium in Abidjan.
“I can tell you without blinking that this game against Cameroon will be our easiest game,” Odegbami told the Vanguard, dismissing expectations of Cameroon’s traditionally physical style.
“It’s going to be a free-flowing game on a typically good pitch. And that’s where our boys will catch them.”
“You can see that the quality has improved with their other matches. The Eagles have settled down. We’ll beat them.
“It’s going to be a war. There’s not going to be any easy game, especially in the knockout stages. They all know that there’s no chance to correct your mistakes in the knockout matches. Our guys have what it takes and they have an edge over Cameroon in this game.
“I have unflagging confidence that this team will do it again. I have been saying it for some weeks now and the belief is getting stronger.”
In addition to the Nigeria vs Cameroon fixture, other round-of-16 clashes include Angola vs Namibia, Equatorial Guinea vs Guinea, Egypt vs Congo DR, Cape Verde vs Mauritania, Senegal vs Cote d’Ivoire, Mali vs Burkina Faso, and Morocco vs South Africa.
The last-16 fixtures will commence on Saturday, January 27, and conclude on Tuesday, January 30.