Former Nigeria international John Utaka has revealed what his former Lens teammate Rigobert Song told him before the AFCON 2004 quarter-final tie between Nigeria and reigning champions Cameroon.
The Eagles squared off against Cameroon in the last eight and triumphed 2-1 to progress into the semi-final.
A superb free-kick from Austin Okocha late in the first half and Utaka’s winner with less than 20 minutes remaining, secured the hardfought win for the Eagles.
Cameroon took the lead through Samuel Eto’o towards the end of the first half.
But before the game Utaka relieved the encounter he had with Song who was skipper of Cameroon then.
“I was joking with him [Rigobert Song] when we were coming out from the tunnel, I wanted to greet him and he said I shouldn’t touch him but it was a joke,” Utaka said on Instagram Live.
“After the game, he congratulated me and said there was nothing much they could do and wished me well.”
Recalling the pressure on the Eagles players before the game, Utaka said: “The intensity of the match was crazy, coming out from the tunnel, you can feel the heat but that’s the joy of playing football, that tension, that pressure is the beauty of the whole thing. he continued.
“You are coming out the crowd is singing. When I say tension, you know like 200 million people are watching. It’s like a do-or-die affair.
“We know the team we are facing were a very, very good team – top strikers, midfielders, defenders. They were the defending champions, very strong team. One way or the other we needed to go past them.”
And on his goal which came off a brilliant assist from Nwankwo Kanu, the 2002 and 2010 World Cup star said: “Papilo [Kanu] you know is so crafty. When I watched the game later, I saw the way he positioned his body before he played the pass, he confused the defenders, they were thinking he was going to play left,” Utaka said on Instagram Live.
“I knew what he was going to do, so immediately I wasn’t even waiting, I started going. Against Angola away he did the same thing, that was years after.
“Whenever I see him positioning himself I’ll go because I know he will drop the pass. When I got that ball I said the only thing I can do is not to waste time because the goalkeeper will close down the more I waste time.
“I was looking right but I knew I was going to play left, he got a slight touch on the ball.
“I needed to drag him to the right so that I can confuse him because the goalkeeper is huge as well. I said if I take one more touch, he will close down on me so I said let me release the ball first time. ”Copyright © 2020 Completesports.com All rights reserved. The information contained in Completesports.com may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the prior written authority of Completesports.com.