By James Agberebi:
Former Nigeria international Victor Ikpeba has advised the Super Eagles to be ready for war when they face African champions Cameroon in the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers in August, Completesportsnigeria.com reports.
Cameroon came from a goal down to beat Egypt 2-1 in the final of the Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon on Sunday to claim their fifth title.
The Super Eagles are four points ahead of Cameroon in Group B of the qualifiers after winning their first two qualifying games against Zambia and Algeria.
Speaking as a guest analyst on Monday Night Football on SuperSport, Ikpeba, who was in the Super Eagles squad that lost the AFCON 2000 final to Cameroon in Lagos, stated that the Nigerians must fight to secure the win.
"Cameroon are known for their character, discipline, and never-say-die attitude. Nobody gave this Cameroon team a chance (to win the AFCON 2017) but they believed they could do it and they did it," Ikpeba said.
"So it is for the Super Eagles to be prepared, they have to show character against a very physical Cameroon side. They may not be talented like the Super Eagles but it is going to be battle royale in the two games. We need to educate our players especially the young ones like Alex Iwobi and Kelechi Iheanacho.
"The Super Eagles must need it more. They have to have the belief because it is going to be war. I remember when we faced Cameroon in the past it was always brutal. Cameroon and Nigeria is the biggest derby in Africa, they always want to beat the Super Eagles. Though it is similar to our rivalry with Ghana, the obsession to beat the Eagles by the Cameroonians is always there."
Ikpeba who won the Tunisia 1994 AFCON with the Super Eagles posited that a win against Cameroon in Uyo in August will surely seal qualification for the 2018 World Cup.
He added: "We've had some successes against Cameroon especially when we had the likes of Jay Jay Okocha, Nwankwo Kanu unfortunately we don't have such players anymore. So this current team have to fight. If our players think they can pass the ball, they are very skillful, beautiful in their jersey, then we are not ready.
"Cameroon will come to Uyo with one mindset which is not to lose on Uyo. But if we can destroy this Cameroon side, then we can qualify for the World Cup. But like I said, the players have to be mentally ready."