Nigeria’s Round of 16 clash against Cameroon at the Africa Cup of Nations has dominated the news on Friday.
Lovers of the game express their views, especially on X (formerly known as Twitter), as the build-up to the potentially epic clash continues.
The rivalry between the two neighbours and rivals has always elicited excitement and banter because of the long history of exciting matches in the AFCON between the two teams.
Throwback Nigeria vs Cameroon matches
A lot of the discussion on X has to do with past matches, as many users posted videos of previous games between Nigeria and Cameroon, with the last game between them – a 3-2 win for the Super Eagles at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations – a prominent feature.
Others reminisced as far back as 1984 when the two teams met for the very first time in the competition as Cameroon ran out 3-1 winners in the final played in Bouake.
Nigeria scored first through Mudal Lawal, but the Indomitable Lions fought their way back to win the game and condemn the then ‘Green Eagles’ to their first defeat in an AFCON final.
Aboubakar returns for Cameroon vs Nigeria
The return of Cameroon’s top striker Vincent Aboubakar didn’t go unnoticed as a lot of Nigerian fans posted about his return to full fitness and availability for the Round of 16 clash.
Some thought that he would not be a match-fit, while others said when it comes to facing the Super Eagles serves as extra motivation for Cameroonian players, and as such, Aboubakar will be fired up for the game.
Peseiro tells Nigeria fans to trust the process
Super Eagles players had a day off after the win against Guinea-Bissau that ensured passage to the next stage.
They resumed training on Monday as preparations began for the all-important clash against Cameroon, with Nigeria coach Jose Peseiro, when answering questions from journalists, revealing that he would not change his tactics.
At a press conference, he reiterated his earlier statement, saying the statistics after the group stage show his team had the most goal-scoring chances and as such won’t be wise to change it now.
The Portuguese said the Eagles will continue to do what they do and hope the players start converting the chances they create.
He also said, ‘“I want to score one goal tomorrow and not concede. You do that and you win the game.”
Nigeria winger Moses Simon backed his coach by saying that the Eagles would score and lock shop, insisting that they played well but failed to convert their chances. against Cameroon, a goal must go in, even if it is half a goal.
“We do not want ten goals. One is enough.”
Onana banter ahead of Nigeria vs Cameroon
A couple of Onana posts have surfaced on X, as some Nigerians are praying for the Manchester United goalkeeper to be between the sticks when the Lions meet the Eagles.
The goalkeeper missed his team’s first game against Guinea, which they drew 1-1, but they conceded three goals as they got smashed 3-1 by Senegal and then got dropped in the last group game against Gambia.
Referring to some of his howlers for Manchester United, some fans thought that if he gets in goal, Nigeria will win the game.
Iheanacho and Alhassan the X factor?
Nigeria forward Kelechi Iheanacho has not participated in the tournament so far despite recovering from injury while Alhassan Yusuf got injured in the first game against Equatorial Guinea.
However, there is optimism that both will be able to feature against Cameroon, for some, a sign that Nigeria will win the game.
Song optimistic of Cameroon victory over Nigeria
Indomitable Lions coach Rigobert Song has high praise for Nigeria, believing they are a good side but said his team is prepared and knows how to approach the game.
When asked about the availability of striker Vincent Aboubakar and if the striker will have a part to play in the game, Song was coy about it and said fans will have to wait tomorrow to see who will play against Nigeria.
It's a firm war cry from a manager who is on the tightrope.
One thing is sure, whatever team wins, social media, especially X, will be awash with banter between Nigeria and Cameroon fans.
The X wars will continue. That is certain.