Die, Super Eagles, Die! By Mumini Alao

Die, Super Eagles, Die! By Mumini Alao

MY last diary on the on-going AFCON was a poser for the Super Eagles following their shock 2-0 defeat to Madagascar in their last group match. I asked: “Can these Eagles redeem themselves?”

Well, their chance for redemption is here and it is in the shape of our bitter rivals Cameroun in a Round of 16 showdown on Saturday. It doesn’t come bigger than that.
Victory for Gernot Rorh and his men, and all their sins against Madagascar will be forgiven, wiped off.

But it won’t come easy. Nigeria-Cameroon rivalry in African football is the equivalent of Brazil-Argentina in South America or Germany-Holland in Europe. It is intense, it is bitter, it is more than just football; indeed, it is a WAR between neighbours. A fight to the finish.

Nigerian football fans who are old enough are very familiar with the storyline and the undercurrents. Younger fans who were not born when the rivalry began must have read about it. In case they haven’t, I have an advise for them: Cameroun are our neighbors, so we should be nice to them. But when it comes to football, they are to be hated with a passion!

Cameroun are the one team in world football that have inflicted the greatest pains on Nigeria at senior level. They denied us a World Cup debut in 1990 and robbed us of the AFCON title on three deeply painful occasions in 1984, 1988 and on home soil in the year 2000. They are the main reason Nigeria can boast of only three African titles despite having played in seven finals.

On a personal note, I recall being very depressed for many days as a Youth Corper in Enugu after the 1988 final in which Henry Nwosu’s goal was disallowed and Roger Milla scored a controversial penalty. And I was at the National Stadium in Lagos in 2000 when Rigoberto Song scored the final penalty kick that snatched the trophy from us in a shootout. The psychological impact of that loss was akin to driving multiple daggers simultaneously into millions of Nigerian hearts. It was a day of deep national mourning that I will never forget.

However, I have also witnessed some happy moments in our “war” with Cameroun. I was in the stadium in Dakar, Senegal when the Eagles beat the Lions 2-1 in the match for third place at the 1992 AFCON. I also recall with joy when we beat them 2-1 again to knock them out in the quarter-final at Tunisia 2004. Then, more recently, the Eagles decimated the Lions 4-0 in Uyo en route to qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup while they sat at home. That last one was particularly satisfying and I will like to experience it again.

Thankfully, Gernot Rohr who masterminded that huge win is still the man in charge of the Eagles. Luckily, also, some of the players who participated in that slaughtering of the Lions are still in the team. Captain John Obi Mikel is unlikely to play on Saturday but he must indoctrinate the younger players about what is at stake. This is one match that they must not lose. If they have to die on the pitch to ensure victory, they should die!

Of course, I do not mean that literally. I’m only challenging the players to go into the match with a determination to win. If they want the win badly enough, they will get it. Mikel should tell the boys: “We beat these guys before and we can beat them again.”

Admittedly, that comprehensive defeat in Uyo followed by the humbling 1-1 draw in Yaoundé in the World Cup qualifiers will also serve as motivation for the Cameroun players on Saturday. The angry Lions will be roaring for revenge against Nigeria. And, as defending AFCON champions, they won’t want to surrender their title this early in the tournament. That sets the stage for a truly helluva battle.

Notably, neither side has been particularly impressive so far in Egypt. They have both struggled for goals, which may suggest that Saturday’s match may end barren, stretch into extra time or even stretch further into a penalty shootout. Cameroun may have a slight edge because they haven’t conceded any goal in three games in Egypt while Nigeria have let in two. But don’t bet on any scenario. When it’s Nigeria versus Cameroun, previous or current form counts for little. Anything can happen, including a goals galore.

At the start of this tournament, I wrote about the Eagles missing a “Biblical Moses”(Victor Moses) but having a “Quranic Musa” (Ahmed Musa) as they seek to “Cross the Red Sea” to winning the AFCON in Egypt. Some readers reminded me that we had another Moses (Moses Simon) in the team which should satisfy my quest for a Musa-Moses combination to “Split the Red Sea” for Nigeria like the original Musa (Moses) did for the Children of Israel. That analogy is for the religious.

Speaking strictly in tactical terms, I can’t help but give a thought on the absent Victor Moses whose skills and penetrating runs was decisive in beating the traditionally physical Camerounians in Uyo. In fact, it is the lack of such inventiveness and creativity which Victor Moses provided that has blunted the Eagles attack at the current AFCON. The challenge for Gernot Rorh is to find other solutions on Saturday.

One solution may well be the exiting youngster Chukwueze who impressed me in our first game against Burundi. If well deployed, his dribbling runs could cause the physical Camerounians lots of headache and win us free kicks in dangerous areas or even a penalty kick because they will have to foul him to stop him. What we then do with the set-pieces may well determine the outcome of the game.

My Prediction: This game is too close to call. But for patriotic reasons, I give it to the Super Eagles in a narrow win or penalty shootout. Do you agree with me? Come over to our fast-growing forum, NaijaSuperFans.com.ng to have your say. That’s where all the conversation is taking place. See you there.

QUOTE:
“Cameroun are our neighbors, so we should be nice to them. But when it comes to football, they are to be hated with a passion!”

By Mumini Alao

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COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 21
  • Aauxtyne 2 months ago

    I heard of the 1984 or 1988 drama against the Camerounians. I think it was the 1984 drama that led to the then Green Eagles to be renamed Super Eagles (if I can recall).

    The year 2000 drama is still fresh where Victor Ikpeba’s goal during the penalty shootout did not count. No thanks to lack of VAR!

    I hope these Super Eagles of today can really make us smile bigger by a convincing win!!

     
    • Estate 2 months ago

      No it was former vice president Augustus that renamed it to super eagles in 1988 after maroc 88

       
  • Oga Mumini, to imagine Cameroun claims to have won Afcon 5 times, and 3 of those time were at the expense of Nigeria in controversial circumstances — and ably supervised by the crooked Hayatou. This is more than a knockout match for Nigeria. We need to confirm our superiority and remind them Hayatou or any godfather is gone forever from the helms.

    On a side note, Cameroon’s shady records in Africa is the reason I also smell a rat with the sudden ’emergence’ of Madagascar as a major soccer nation since Ahmad came on board. First, they qualified for Afcon for the first time and then they topped a group containing Nigeria and Guinea! What other shockers are in store, please? Win the competition!? Hahaha, nothing is impossible with African administrators and compromising refs. He’s already enmeshed in scandals; who knows other skeletons there are in the cupboard?

     
    • Footballfanatic 2 months ago

      The Islander did what most African nations are doing, they went on a recruitment of french born players from Reunion and parts of france with malagasy heritage….nothing to do with the Caf being alleged of corruption but he might have used his power to channel different moves to improve his country’s soccer legite and illegitimately.

       
  • Dear Uncle Mumuni,

    Thank you so much for the piece above which I read with interest and thoroughly enjoyed. Yes, the match tomorrow does put us in a reflective kind of mood which leads to us wondering what might have been if Cameroon had not been on our way at some key, key times.

    I was still in Junior Secondary School when a draw away to Cameroon in Yaunde would have been enough for us to march towards 1990 World Cup qualification. However, Oman Biyik’s goal in 31 minutes was the only and final nail in the coffin for our World Cup qualification for that year. Having said that, the damage had actually been done with the 2:2 away draw to Angola in January 1989. Also, had we come out of that group, we still needed to navigate the last round with Tunisia lying in wait (I think we would have dispatched Tunisia with consummate ease).

    The only consolation I have from that episode was that Cameroon would go on and make Africa proud (very proud indeed!) at Italia’90. Their performance unified the continent and laid the foundation for lofty expectations of African teams in future World Cups – an expectation Nigeria almost rivalled but for the brilliance to Roberto Baggio (and inexperience of Oliseh) in 1994.

    Cameroon have indeed inflicted some painful memories for me as a Super Eagles fan but, I am not afraid of them at all. Of all their victories against us in the Afcon finals, it is only the 1984 victory that was “clean” (very clean indeed as we were well beaten fair and square). In the other ones, they have had the ‘hand of God’ come to their aid in various guises.

    My best, fantastic and most wonderful moment was in the 2004 Afcon when Utaka latched on to a Kanu pass to beat the hapless offside trap of the Cameroonians and slot home to end their hopes of back-to-back Afcon trophy. If Utaka was a Deity, I would have made him my Lord and personal saviour (in football terms) for that goal.

    Cameroon have never been our match! They huff and puff but often fail to blow us down ‘cleanly’. You use the analogy saying that Nigeria vs Cameroon is like Brazil vs Argentina. Without being disrespectful to you sir, I don’t think even you appreciate the magnitude of that Comparison.

    According to 11v11.com, Brazil have won Argentina 46 times and have lost 39 times (a difference of 7 times). According to the same website, Nigeria have won Cameroon 11 times losing only 4 ( a difference of (em) 7). So, in your analogy, we (Nigeria) are Brazil while Cameroon is Argentina. You will recall that both teams met in the knockout stages of the Copa America this week with Brazil prevailing 2:0.

    So, building on your analogy, I predict a win for the Super Eagles tomorrow because why? That can be the only logical outcome to expect from this encounter.

     
    • Fqtee 2 months ago

      Baba Deo, ese gan fun analysis… I always enjoy your logic… Uncle Mumin, it’s so kind of you to take us down memory lane… One thing is sure, if the eagles can get their acts together, then it’s good night and God bless for Cameroon!!

       
  • Christopeher Okeke 2 months ago

    The truth is that children of Indomie age as we can see clearly here are not commenting because all this dates and years looks strange to them… They were not born then…. But when it comes to small things they will argue as if they know history… They only known mourinho era

     
    • Cuteprince 2 months ago

      Lol…LMAO…. RIDE ON SIR…
      Cameroun as right stated by uncle mumini soccer wise I despise… not taking away their achievements… But for the controversial way Nigeria was robbed to sooth Hayatou’s ego

       
  • Glory 2 months ago

    I have read comments here n I love d patriotic zeal. But to be honest I will advice we tread softly while praying for good luck. It will be completely out of place to underestimate Cameroun. Anyone with good knowledge of Cameroun right from d days of Emmanuel Kunde, Theophilus n Bridle Abegas, Roger milla, through to present day players will only wait, enjoy d match n spk afterwards. Cameroun is known for showing no respect to any footballing nation, be you Brazil, Argentina, England or all what sort. On their day, they can kill any team. I personally,as a patriotic Nigerian will want Nigeria to win but I can only wait till then

     
  • Well said @deo… Cameroon(1990) the reason why the African world cup Slot increase to 3 and Nigeria(1994) the reason it increase to 5.
    *Pain from the Match against Ghana where Yekini was fouled inside Ghanian box and still managed to dribble and scored while on sit in which the goal was controversially ruled out and we lost the match in the process caused Nigeria to beat Cameroon 2-1 in the 3rd place 1992.
    * Another pain from 1 – 2 loss to DR Congo under Sunday Oliseh in Belgium forced us to beat Cameroon 3 – 0 which Moses Simon Scored one of the goals.
    * Another pain from the match against South Africa where we lost at home 0 – 2 forced Naija to beat them 4 goals to 1 and 1 – 1 away(with a goal by Moses Simon) during world cup Qualifiers.
    *And Now….Still suffering from another pain … Madagascar! And Cameroon showed up again…hmmm, u know what this means…and Moses Simon is with the Team also…

     
    • Good observations… Nice on Sean.

       
      • Please forget moses simon and his one one goals. Before u go and motivate rohr to start that error today. With deo respect to simon i used to like him during his days with oliseh’s eagles. With rohr i can only support him if he plays 2( right back) wat he played upfront is a disgrace to africa football even india canever accept such crosses in their cricket! Talking about crosses i am really disapointed with some set of eagles players i cant imagine playing football for over ten years as a prof and recieved uge amount of money and u cannot cross or even make easy passes with the ball that is absolutely un acceptable. They should be ashamed of their self. Moses simon you are the poorest winger i have ever seen in the eagles shirt u have to go and learn everything again if not ur yansh go open for ur club soon secondly your decisions with balls are too amateur and naive. Deo thank u for taking me back to 2004 2 1 victory against the lions, it was my last memory of jayjay master minder. I remember shouting along the street of aja( lekki lagos) like i won a lottery. Reminding my fellow nigerians saying WE ARE THE EAGLES WE ARE THE KING OF AFRICA. JAYJAY IS THE KING OF THE MIDFIELD, FOOTBALL WAS MADE HERE, FOOTBALL IS OURS. and i was so ready to fight anyone who dears disagree with me at that emotional moment of my mind. The reason i was so encited is not becos of the victory but becos of our display on the pitch. Naigeria that just escomunicated three key player ( agali, ayegbeni, and celestine) for deciplinary purpose. And we where still able to teach such a powerfull opponnent lessons. If this nigeria team play the cameroun of 2004 of eto mboma geremi mbami olembe song lorren kallah idris kanemi ndiefe etc they will beat us countless times. We are lucky to meet a tooth less lions these time and i hope we should take advantage of them these time around. God bless Naigeria.

         
    • Cuteprince 2 months ago

      Yeah sure bro…nice analysis

       
  • Sunnyb 2 months ago

    Nice job @deo, remember the heroic performance of  David Ngodiga that night.He lost two  of is tooth that night defending is fathers land.once again thanks deo. Iwobi must really step up Is game tomorrow he has not come to dance so far in this tournament hopefully he would bring is dancing shoes to the party tomorrow. Cameroon would not lay down and be walkover by Nigeria.Cameroon is beatable but we must be ready to sacrifice ready to fight for all loose balls. The battle of Alexandria would be won from the flanks, Rohr should  take notes.

     
  • Pompei 2 months ago

    A rallying cry from Mumini Alao to the Super Eagles. Beat Cameroun, and all the Madagascar discontent will evaporate into thin air. Lose to Cameroun, and the following will likely happen:
    1) Rohr will find himself out of a job.
    2) This match will likely be the last rodeo for quite a few players.
    So, as Julius Caesar said after crossing the Rubicon river – ALEA IACTA EST. The die is cast! It’s do or die now. Which way, Nigeria?

     
    • Omo9ja 2 months ago

      Many thanks to you Mr. Mumuni Alao. You have spoken very well sir. The rivalry between Nigeria and Cameroon haven’t started this year.

      They broke our hearts too many times through the former CAF president, Mr. Isa Ayatu.

      I’m hoping that our boys can go all out and prove to the indomitable lions of Cameroon team in today’s encounter that this is Super Eagles of Nigeria. God bless Nigeria!!!

       
  • Sunnyb 2 months ago

    @deo anytime bro

     
  • Olusola Akinwale 2 months ago

    Incisive commentary from Football Alhaji. Maroc 88 was my first heartbreak watching Cameroon beat Nigeria. Something to note sir: Emmanuel Kunde scored the penalty kick. Roger Milla was fouled in the Green Eagles’ 18