Rivalry intensifies: Ex-DR Congo captain shares insight on Nigeria vs. Cameroon

Posted : 25 January 2024

Former Democratic Republic of Congo captain Gabriel Zakuani has shared his insights and predictions ahead of the highly anticipated 2023 Africa Cup of Nations match between Nigeria and Cameroon. Zakuani believes that the encounter will be intense and marked by fierce competition, describing it as a clash where the two teams "actually hate each other." He anticipates a thrilling spectacle with robust challenges and hopes to witness Nigeria's marquee center forward, Victor Osimhen, make a significant impact.


While Nigeria finished second in Group A, accumulating seven points, and Cameroon secured a spot in the last 16 with a dramatic 3-2 win over Gambia, Zakuani notes that the Super Eagles have faced challenges due to a sudden change in their playing philosophy. Nigeria's manager, Jose Peseiro, implemented a defensive formation in the last two group games, causing discomfort among the team.


Examining the historical head-to-head records between Nigeria and Cameroon, Zakuani acknowledges Nigeria's dominance, having won 12 games, drawn eight, and lost five. However, he points out that three of those defeats occurred in the finals of the Africa Cup of Nations in 1984, 1988, and 2000.


Zakuani specifically highlights Nigeria's marquee striker, Victor Osimhen, expressing the view that fans have yet to witness his best performances at the 2023 AFCON. He hopes that Osimhen, the reigning African Footballer of the Year, will shine in the upcoming clash against the Indomitable Lions, emphasizing the striker's ability to convert chances into goals.


In Zakuani's words on the BBC World Service, "Nigeria against Cameroon stands out for me... They actually hate each other, it will be great to see some challenges flying in that one." He expresses anticipation about Osimhen's potential impact on the match, stating, "I'd like to see him light up that one because he will be looking forward to that one."


Despite Osimhen scoring once in the 2023 AFCON and contributing to a penalty in the victory against Ivory Coast, Zakuani believes that the striker has more to offer. He highlights Osimhen's chances in front of goal and expresses excitement about the prospect of him delivering standout performances in this crucial encounter. The stage is set for a thrilling and emotionally charged clash between two African football powerhouses, and Gabriel Zakuani's insights add an extra layer of anticipation to the upcoming fixture.

 

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