A fiery summit between Nigeria and Cameroon launches Africa Cup of Nations semi-final duels

FRANCE 24 delegate to Ivory Coast – The 2024 African Cup of Nations football activities in Ivory Coast will resume on Saturday, with a classic, fiery confrontation between the national teams of Nigeria and Cameroon in Abidjan. Between the “Eagles” and the “Lions” there is a history full of exciting confrontations, most notably the final of the 2000 edition. You can follow the stages of the match live on France 24 at nine o’clock in the evening (eight o’clock GMT).

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It is a battle of the stars, in which the heroes are played by “special eagles” (“Super Eagles”) and “lions” that cannot be tamed. Classic showdown African football Between two giants who have a dual relationship between love and hate, in which they often compete with a fighting spirit and increased morale.

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The high-level sporting battle will bring together the Nigerian national team that won the championship three times, in 1980, 1994 and 2013. And his Cameroonian counterpart Winner on five occasions (1984, 1988, 2000, 2002 and 2017). A battle that will be held at the Stade Felix Houphouet-Boigny in Abidjan, where Cameroon won its first title forty years ago by defeating its northern neighbor 3-1.

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The “Lions” emerged in the early 1980s when they played in the 1982 World Cup in Spain (alongside Algeria), then left their mark in the continental competition, winning the 1984 edition and then the 1988 edition in Morocco after defeating Eagles of Nigeria 1-0, then they also qualified for the 1990 World Cup in Italy.

Are things working in Nigeria’s favor again?

The last duel between the two neighbors came back in the 2000 African Cup of Nations final, which took place in Nigeria, when they presented a unique performance in an exciting atmosphere and official time ended with two goals in each net before the “Lions” decided to win in their favor on penalties.

In recent years, the matches between them have regularly shifted in favor of Nigeria, which defeated its counterpart in the quarter-finals of 2004 in Tunisia and in the quarter-finals of the 2019 edition in Egypt.

Are things going in Nigeria’s direction this time as well, especially since Cameroon booked their place in the last 16 in stoppage time of their last group match against Gambia when they beat them 3-2 in the city of Bouaké? Or will Nigeria and its powerful striker Victor Osimhen, winner of the African Player of the Year award in 2023, assert their superiority to continue their march towards a fourth continental title?

Cameroon appeared in the group stage in a manner not worthy of its reputation, which caused concern among its fans, by drawing against Guinea in the first match (1-1) despite its numerical superiority, and losing to Senegal (3-1), then beating Gambia with a score of (3-2). In the last round.

But coach Rigobert Song (who was part of the winning team in the 2000 Lagos final) confirmed that his team would be on time, and said on the eve of the match: “We are ready… We started slowly, and we gradually rose. I have to correct what did not work.”

He added: “The Nigerian team is good. It has not always been easy for them. It is a team that must be taken seriously. The players know what needs to be done and they are working for it. It is a knockout match. We have to win to move forward.”

As for the Super Eagles, they advanced to the round of 16 in a strong position, as after their draw against Equatorial Guinea (1-1), they beat the host country team (1-0) and then over Guinea-Bissau (1-0).

Their coach, the Portuguese José Peseiro, expected the confrontation to be “difficult” against a “big team,” noting that his team is also “terrific” and does not want to give up. He stressed that the goal is “to win,” adding: “It is a task entrusted to us and we will try to implement it.” “We want to win, we want to stay in this tournament until the end.”

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The post first appeared on www.france24.com

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