It was a befitting solidarity Nigerian Super Eagles staged for Carl Ikeme in Uyo, Wednesday, when the players wore tee-shirts that carried the messages: “Stay Strong For Carl”, during prematch press conference ahead of the World Cup qualifier against Cameroun on Friday, September 1. Ikeme has been undergoing treatment for acute leukemia and sidelined from the national team for months.
In further tribute to the sick Nigeria’s number one goalkeeper, the entire squad would be expected to wear the same special tee-shirts before filing out against Cameroon in their crucial match the same day. Super Eagles Technical Adviser, Gernot Rohr said the team would endeavour to win Friday’s mach against Cameroon for Ikeme. His words: “We will win for Karl”. This solidarity is endearing to the hearts of Nigerians.
The strongest motivation for the Super Eagles to beat Indomitable Lions of Cameroon is national honour and pride. The Super Eagles are on national assignment. It is more about national image – wearing the national colour and pride for Nigerian to be at the 2018 World Cup, the biggest stage in football – nothing less. Friday, September 1, match against Cameroon should be taken as match of their lives. That is the spirit and mood of the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon, as they approach the match.
The Indomitable Lions of Cameroon has never been an easy side when paired against Nigeria’s Super Eagles. They are a never-give-up side, no matter the odds. The Supper Eagles should not be flat-footed as they approach the game on Friday. The Nigerian side are known for good ball control – possession play, and must take advantage of it against the very physical Cameroonian side.
According to a report quoting Christian Chukwu, a legendary player of the Super Eagles said: “I want to urge our boys to go all out and play the game of their lives when they meet Cameroon on Friday”. Nigeria has the edge over Cameroon in past head-to-head matches. Chukwu said that should not be the basis to judge the present situation, especially when Cameroon are the present African Champion, and that deserve some respect.
Nigeria in the past had 20 encounters with Cameroon and has beaten Cameroon 12 times, lost three times in regulation time and drew five matches. It is 28 years since Cameroon beat Nigeria in regulation time. Cautioning the Super Eagles, Chukwu said: “Past records will not get us our desired result. We must take every match as new and strive to win”.
Rohr also revealed that Vincent Enyeama, former Super Eagles goalkeeper and team captain, may be on his way back to the national team. This is cheering. Enyeama has been estranged with the Super Eagles due to poor handling of certain situation by the former team coach Sunday Olise which led to his resignation from Super Eagles in 2015.
Rohr said he spoke with Enyeama and he was ready to come back to the team, but Enyeama was not presently fit. Rohr words: “The past is the past, but now he is injured. He has to win the fight against injury”.