Nigeria/Cameroon: Ahmed Musa Insists Another Defeat Not an Option Against Cameroon Today

8 June 2021

Super Eagles Captain, Ahmed Musa, has insisted that another defeat of Nigeria is not an option today as they take on the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon in the second leg of a two-match friendly programme in the Austrian capital, Vienna.

"We are not happy to have created so many chances and fail to score. We will approach the game differently tonight," observed the returnee Kano Pillars poster boy of the friendly scheduled to hold at the Stadion Wiener Neustadt at 4pm Nigerian time. (5pm in Austria).

Musa who did a cameo appearance in the first leg has been included in the starting line up today along side first choice goalkeeper, Francis Uzoho.

He however admitted that the Indomitable Lions remain one of Africa's favourite teams.

"The Cameroonians are big rivals of Nigeria and so we are not happy to have lost the game (1-0) last Friday," Musa who returned to the Nigerian topflight this season after calling off his deal on mutual agreement in the Saudi Premier League, further observed.

Five-time African champions Cameroon won the first encounter 1-0 at the same venue on Friday, courtesy of a 36th minute strike by Andre Zambo Nguissa. The Super Eagles created chance after chance but failed to get the ball into the net.

Coach Gernot Rohr spoke at length about having to use a rash of new players in the first session, but he is compelled to do even more of that in Tuesday's encounter following injuries to defenders William Troost-Ekong and Jamilu Collins, and the knock for pacy winger Moses Simon.

Simon appeared to be getting better as of Monday morning, but the smart money is on him starting from the bench.

With the versatile Abdullahi Shehu heaved back to the rear from midfield for which he was initially pencilled down, and the couple of injuries from Friday's match, Rohr has had to extend invitation to Hungary-based Vincent Onovo to fight for his first cap. Onovo arrived in the team hotel just after dinner on Sunday.

A three-man defenceline is in the offing, with perhaps Chidozie Awaziem, who impressed in that unit on Friday, Abdullahi and Ozornwafor. Another late invitee, Anthony Izuchukwu, from Slovakia, is another possibility. A loaded midfield could include Onovo, with Wilfred Ndidi, Oghenekaro Etebo, Samson Tijani and Abraham Marcus also on the roll.

Home-based professional Anayo Iwuala could start, with Paul Onuachu, Peter Olayinka, Kelechi Iheanacho, Alex Iwobi, Moses Simon, Terem Moffi and Captain Ahmed Musa also to taste action.

After Friday's game, Rohr told the media: "We missed seven key players due to injuries, so it was not our best team, but it was good to see other players. We are not happy to lose the game, but we saw some interesting new young players.

Friday's defeat was Rohr's first loss to Cameroon in four matches. The Eagles pounded the Lions 4-0 in Uyo and were held 1-1 in Yaounde in 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying matches in September 2017, and then edged the Lions 3-2 in the Round of 16 at the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt two years ago.

Though a friendly game, fierce rivals Cameroon were very happy to prevail over Nigeria for the first time since winning the Africa Cup of Nations final on penalty

shoot-out in Lagos 21 years ago. "We took the game seriously because we played against a tough opponent, a big game against a big rival. It was important for us to show our preparations, and I'm happy we won," said Cameroon's Germany-based striker Eric Choupo-Moting.

A sense of purpose to win the second game reigns supreme in the Eagles' Hilton Garden Inn camp in Wiener Neustadt, 46 kilometres outside Vienna.

After a one-hour training session in the light drizzle on Sunday morning, the three-time African champions had their last training session at the match venue yesterday evening.

Both teams have qualified for the finals of the 33rd Africa Cup of Nations, which Cameroon will host in January 2022.

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