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AFCON 2023: Nigeria vs Cameroon Preview: Rd of 16 renew Super Eagles, Lions rivalry



By Monsurah Olatunji

Nigeria will take on arch-rivals Cameroon in the Round of 16 of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) at the Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium in Abidjan on Saturday.
The football rivalry between these two neighboring countries meeting numerous times in various competitions, especially in an AFCON tournament, is a significant one in African football.
Nigeria and Cameroon have faced each other seven times in the AFCON, with each team winning three and drawing one.
Boasting quality and experienced players in their ranks, the two Western brothers shared eight titles between them with Cameroon having the most.
Osimhen had the most shots (13)  and chances created combined (4) in the group stage than any Nigeria player that Opta has on record since 2010.
Meanwhile, no player has created more chances in this group stages than Georges-Kévin Nkoudou (10), the most by a Cameroonian player at the group stage of AFCON since Benjamin Moukandjo (12) in 2017.
The Indomitable Lions have won five titles including the finals of the 1984, 1988, and 2000 AFCON tournaments all against Nigeria.
In fact, Cameroon’s first title won against Nigeria took place inside the same stadium that will host this encounter on Saturday, Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium in Abidjan.
The Rigobert Song-led team have only lost more AFCON matches against Egypt (4) than they have against Nigeria (3).
Meanwhile, the Eagles won the bronze medal match 2-1 in 1992 and overcame then-Cup winners Cameroon 2-1 in the 2004 quarter-finals.
In 1988, both teams drew 1-1 in the group stage, with Samuel Okwaraji scoring after only two minutes in Rabat and Roger Milla equalizing with a header after the Nigerian defenders, commanded by Andrew Uwe, thought they had kept him offside.
However, their most recent meeting at the AFCON was in July 2019, where Nigeria achieved a 3-2 comeback win in the round of 16 with goals from Odion Ighalo (x2) and Alex Iwobi.
The three-time champions can take confidence in the fact they have won 13 out of 16 AFCON second-round matches (round-of-16). Although, they have been eliminated in their last two knockout ties (2019 semi-finals, 2021 last 16) after winning four in a row beforehand.
With Cameroon’s last two knockout games gone to penalties (lost in 2021 semi-finals vs Egypt & won in 2021 third-place play-off vs Burkina Faso), Nigeria may have hard nut to crack.
After a disappointing 1-1 tie with Equatorial Guinea to begin their AFCON campaign, the Super Eagles defeated Ivory Coast and Guinea-Bissau while keeping a clean sheet in the process and aim to continue their quest.
Cameroon, on the other hand, lost to Senegal after  a draw against 10-man Guinea in their opening match before force a late minute dramatic 3-2 win over Gambia.

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