Having lost the first fixture to Central African Republic (CAR) at the Teslim Balogun Stadium on Thursday in Lagos, the Super Eagles of Nigeria bounced back to winning ways with a five-star performance, as they recorded a resounding 2-0 victory over the Les Fauves in Cameroon on Sunday.
Thursday’s encounter between Nigeria and CAR ended in a disappointing outing for the Nigerian team, who were tipped as favorites to win game, but they were beaten 1-0, courtesy of a stoppage time effort from Karl Namnganda.
Shortly after Nigeria’s first home defeat in 40 years in a World Cup qualifier match, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) president, Amaju Pinnick, tasked the players to put the result behind them and evoke the much-adored Nigerian Spirit, when they take on central Africans in Douala.
“This result has been a huge shock, especially after the NFF provided everything necessary to make the team comfortable and focused on the task at hand.
“This is a setback, which can be quickly reversed, and the Nigerian Spirit is what we will take to Cameroon. The NFF is backing the team to retain a strong hold on the group and qualify to the knockout phase,” Pinnick said.
Amaju’s words of encouragement to the players and the technical crew, after the game is one of the factors responsible for the big win in Cameroon, coupled with few tactical changes to the squad and self- motivation from the entire team.
Coach Gernot Rohr reverted to the formation he used when Nigeria defeated Cape Verde away from home as he retained Leon Balogun, William Troost-Ekong with Chigozie Awaziem completing back three in an attacking 3-5-2 set up.
Goalkeeper, Maduka Okoye replaced Francis Uzoho in the starting lineup, captain Ahmed Musa took Chidera Ejuke place as Moses Simon, Jamilu Collins, Frank Onyeka and Joe Aribo keep their shirt.
It took the Eagles 29 minutes before they could break the deadlock, at the Stade Jopama on Sunday afternoon, with Balogun scoring the opener on the day he made his 40th appearance, for the Nigerian team as he connected a long pass from Awaziem.
Nigeria doubled their lead 16 minutes after the first goal with red-hot Napoli forward, Victor Osimhen netted the second via a pass from Ekong, as Nigeria kept their 2022 World Cup qualification hopes alive with third win in four games.
With the 2-0 win over the central Africans, the Super Eagles now have nine points as they maintain their top position on the group C table ahead of CAR, Cape Verde and Liberia, in the 2022 World Cup qualifying series.
Olawale Quadry is a Mass Communication graduate, creative writer and pundit with eight years of experience and deep knowledge of Nigerian sports. He has previously written for SL10, South Africa, TribaI Football and Opera News. Follow him on Twitter @QualityQuadry
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