Cameroon sends dangerous signal to Nigeria with victory over Senegal

By Daily Sports on January 31, 2017

Views: 3,778

Make no mistake about it, Cameroon’s indomitable Lions are back in business; the business of being a feared force in African football once again. And this is happening in the AFCON in Gabon.

Against a star-studded Senegalese Teranga Lions (complete with Liverpool’s best performer this season ,Saido Mane) Cameroon exhibited their famed collective spirit, defensive resilience, and never-say-die attitude to take the AFCON quarter final game into penalties and held their nerves better to win the lottery.

It wasn’t long ago (just prior to the commencement of the AFCON) that Cameroon were some kind of a laughing stock. With about five players withdrawing from the nations cup and turning their backs on their fatherland and opting to fight the course of their European Clubs, the Lion s were in a quandary.

Expectations from their fans were understandably lowered and there was a general gloom hanging over the team as far as the World Cup qualifiers (scheduled to resume soon) was concerned. It sounds somehow strange to refer to Cameroon as underdogs but they truly were going into the AFCON.

But Cameroon have so far weathered the storm and have made a huge statement of intent in their march back to the top echelon of African football. That statement of intent came with that impressive win against Senegal. Going into the game, Senegal were the strong favourites on current form. Coach Aliou Cissé’s men sailed through the group stage games with ease and with a host of top stars who are plying their trades in Europe appearing, they were simply flying.

Cameroon had been top dogs in African football for some decades but in recent years they have paled  into a shadow of their former selves. But against Senegal Saturday, the Lions rolled back the years and despite not exactly roaring, they showed their famous defensive organisation to foil Mane et al. Senegal huffed and puffed and searched for spaces in the Cameroon back line but all to no avail.

Cameroon’s performance reminds one of their famous defensive performance years ago that earned them famous wins. The night in Italy in the 1990 World Cup, when a nine-man Cameroon ably led by (their then 38-year-old) legend Roger Milla resisted the onslaught from the great Diego Maradona and Argentina to win the opening game of the Mundial 1-0.

In those years past when Cameroon scored first against Nigeria, there was always a collective apprehension amongst Nigerian fans that the Super Eagles would not be able to recover just like they couldn’t in the 1988 African Nations Cup final in Morocco when Nigeria went 0-1 down and couldn’t find their way back despite ceaseless pressure on Cameroon.Although, it should be noted that Nigerian midfielder Henry Nwosu had a goal controversially disallowed for offside in that game.

Now that Cameroon seem to have rolled back the years, by beating what is regarded as a big team (at least in African football),their sights must be certainly set on winning the nations cup and then trying to overhaul Nigeria’s lead in their World Cup qualifying group.

Nigeria’s 4 point lead over Cameroon looks healthy at the moment and with the Super Eagles players shinning in healthy numbers for top European clubs, the coach Gernot Rohr men are overwhelming favourites to qualify for Russia 2018. But Cameroon can’t be ruled out so easily.

There was always a chance that between the last World Cup qualifying and the next round of games, a lot would have happened to transform the moods in the nations struggling to qualify for the World Cup. For Cameroon, the win over Senegal should usher a renewed hope that they aren’t down and out and that qualifying for the World Cup is still a possibility.

They would believe that if they can out do Senegal they can do so to Nigeria.

Source Daily Sports

Posted January 31, 2017


 

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