Nigeria vs Cameroon: 5 players to watch in epic AFCON 2024 clash

Nigeria will square up against Cameroon in a Round of 16 game at the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON 2024) with both teams seeking a quarter-final spot.

Both teams have not really been on top of their game so far, even though the Super Eagles may beg to differ as they got seven points out of a possible nine while Cameroon barely scrapped through with four points.

Irrespective of their group stage performances, this tie is arguably one of the biggest football matches, not just in this tournament but across all levels -men or women.

This latest instalment will see the two eternal rivals, who have a history of interesting games between them at the Africa Cup of Nations, add another chapter to their football feud on the pitch.

Here are five players to look out for when the Super Eagles take on the Indomitable Lions on Saturday at the Stade Félix-Houphouët-Boigny in Abidjan.

Jean Charles Castelletto (Cameroon)

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Cameroon's defensive solidity has been under scrutiny in the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations, but amidst the leaky performances, one shining star stands tall—Jean Charles Castelletto.

The Nantes defender has been a beacon of resilience, showcasing stout defending and impeccable tackling. Notably, he contributed a goal against Senegal, proving his worth on both ends of the pitch.

As Cameroon face Nigeria in the Round of 16, Castelletto is expected to be a linchpin in the defence, striving to propel the Indomitable Lions to the quarter-finals.

Stanley Nwabali (Nigeria)

Super Eagles Nigeria
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Once an unheralded figure, Stanley Nwabali has emerged as Nigeria's undisputed first-choice goalkeeper in the tournament. The calm and assured Chippa United keeper has earned plaudits from Nigerian fans for his composed performances.

Known for his adept shot-stopping and command of aerial crosses, the 27-year-old faces a formidable challenge against Cameroon.

As he braces for the clash, Nwabali's ability to prove himself on this significant stage will be closely watched.

Vincent Aboubakar (Cameroon)

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Cameroon's captain and leading goal-scorer, Vincent Aboubakar returns to action with full fitness, aiming to make an impact against the Super Eagles.

The Besiktas striker, renowned for his power and exceptional shooting ability, missed the earlier stages of the tournament but is now available for the crucial Round of 16 clash with Nigeria.

Whether he starts or features as a substitute, Aboubacar is poised to inject more firepower into the Cameroon attack, adding an extra dimension to their offensive capabilities.

Calvin Bassey (Nigeria)

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Calvin Bassey‘s journey in the tournament took a positive turn after a stellar performance against Ivory Coast in the second group game.

Initially absent from the starting lineup, Bassey's exceptional tackling and physicality have since secured him a regular spot in Nigeria's defensive setup.

His all-round defensive display has contributed to Nigeria's clean sheet record since the first game. As Nigeria face Cameroon, Bassey's defensive prowess will be crucial in containing an attacking force that has scored four goals in the tournament.

Moses Simon (Nigeria)

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Moses Simon, a dynamic winger for Nigeria, has showcased his flair and versatility throughout the tournament. Despite being in and out of the starting lineup, his Man of the Match performance against Guinea-Bissau highlighted his impact on the pitch.

Blessed with pace, trickery, and an eye for assists, Simon plays for Nantes in Ligue 1 and thrives on big occasions. With a prestigious CAF award under his belt, Simon is poised to exploit the weaknesses in the Cameroon defence and help Nigeria secure a spot in the quarter-finals.

Nigeria's coach, Jose Peseiro hopes for Simon to build on his recent strong showing and contribute to the Super Eagles' success against the Indomitable Lions.

Nigeria vs Cameroon: 5 players to watch in epic AFCON 2024 clash
Andrew Randa

Andrew Randa is a seasoned Africa sports journalist, and a former Media Officer for Nigeria's U-20 national team. He is widely acknowledged as an authority on the NPFL and African football, Randa is esteemed for his expertise in football content creation. Furthermore, he holds the distinction of being Nigeria's foremost sports kit designer and a trailblazer in the realm of sports graphics in Nigeria.