40 Twitter Reactions to Nigeria’s Win Over Cameroon

The thought of playing the current African champions twice in under a week was terrifying enough. Maybe not for some others. But for me, I kept remembering the team that conquered all that stood before it on their way to dominating African football early this year.

Their poor outing in the FIFA Confederations Cup doused the fear a bit as Friday, 1st of September drew near.

They didn’t win any games out there in Russia,” I said to myself.

“Maybe the Indomitable Lions are not as good as they used to be.”

But the thought of Bassogog’s speed, Moukandjo’s enterprise and of course Vincent Aboubakar power did not let me raise my hopes to high. After the poor outing against South Africa, I was literally hoping for the best but expecting the worst.

The sight of a full stadium was not strange to me. It’s typical for Nigerians to troop out in their thousands when their darling Super Eagles are in action. Those people love their football like that.

The first twenty minutes or thereabout of the game was all Cameroon. As if to confirm my fears and worries, the Lions kept bombarding Shehu and flinging those crosses into the box. I tried to calm myself but that was even harder to do with the way John Obi Mikel and co. incessantly gave away the ball possession with Odion Ighalo a lonely figure up-front.

Luckily for the Nigerian in me, that was the only period I really needed to worry. The Super Eagles gradually grew into the game and took charge of the fixture. In the end, the game 4-0 in favor of the Super Eagles of Nigeria.

Some of the goals were made in China

…others were made in England while some made by Moses. 

But it doesn’t matter now. What matters is the statement of intent that the Nigeria’s national football team made to not just their Cameroonian neighbors, but to Africa as whole. After playing Zambia, Algeria and Cameroon, the Super Eagles remain unbeaten.

And they’ve not even dragged themselves or grinded out results in all these games. It has been almost like a stroll in the park for Nigeria’s Eagles. And that’s more reason why Africa should be afraid. There’s an eagle in the West and it’s soaring again.

I never really understood – not that interested anyway in – how the FIFA Rankings work. But with this win, I hope our rankings will change. And I’m not even the only one hoping for that change.

At this point, I’ll pretend the commentary box of a specific channel put icing on the cake

If after seeing those tweets, you’re still asking me about the commentary, you are O.Y.O.

Moving forward, there was the mild argument about which player should be awarded the MotM award.

Who was your Man of the Match on the day:

  • John Mikel Obi
  • Victor Moses
  • Leon Baogun
  • Someone Else

Please share your thoughts with me by leaving a comment.

While the argument continues, there was also a lot of praise for the Chinese League after John Obi Mikel and Odion Ighalo, two players who ply their trade in China, scored for the Super Eagles.

Of course, there was a prophet who called it even before the game day,

But the celebrations are already over and they’re already making plans for the future ahead.

A name that will important for the next game in Cameroon is this guy,

To finish things off, an ode to the back line that made Ezenwa look good on the day

So what’s next?

A trip to the lions’ den located in Cameroon.

 

About Author

Rotimi “Papi” Daramola is a freelance sports writer, a football content developer and a freelance football analyst who has appeared on radio to talk football. You can reach him on twitter @rotdav

 

AFCON 2017 Review: So Far, So Good


Every two years, 16 of Africa’s best nations meet to slug it out in her version of the World Cup. It is a tournament that creates goose pimples for the purists in Africa as the holy grail of the FIFA World Cup seems far away with every passing mundial.

The influx of Africans in diaspora coming back to their roots may seem to indicate otherwise, with players who had football education abroad coming back to help change the landscape.

African football is known for its emphasis on brute strength; a player’s ability to bully the other off the ball with next to zero technique while the skilful player is an oddity rather than the norm. 

The coaches are perceived to lack the intelligence to change games with their technical knowhow and there is no respect for the man in the dugout as regards tactics with many viewing the continent as one which lives in the noughties.

You may not blame those who belong to that school of thought, because if the current Total African Cup of Nations in Gabon is anything to go by, then, one will be in a state of flux and be indecisive, because while African football’s true colour has been revealed, there have been several times one would question the quality of the game on the continent. 

There are only a few players who ply their trade in Africa currently playing at the event which further begs why oftentimes than not, we have been fed low quality games.

A case in point: the hosts, who disappointed and flattered to deceive. Pierre Emerick Aubameyang had earlier risen to the occasion twice already and one wondered what became of them when he didn’t do so again. He was the team’s star man, but he couldn’t do it all on his own.

Players like Bruno Ecuelle Manga, Andre Biyogho Poko, Mario Lemina, Didier Ndong, Malick Evouna and Daniel Bouanga failed to step up (er, maybe Bouanga stepped up to be counted in that game against Cameroon). 

The reality lies in the fact that despite this being one of the most talented Gabonese squads in a long time, the lack of quality is glaring, one magnified by a lack of cohesion and understanding. 

Jose Antonio Camacho only arrived in December and he was expected to lead them to glory. BLOODY HELL! How possible? The team’s lack of preparation was evident in the opening game when Juary Soares popped up with a late equalizer after a mix up at the back, a scenario that repeated itself with an own goal on Match day 2 and was then crowned by Aubameyang’s failure to convert with the goal gaping against Cameroon. Nothing illustrates African football’s problems better when you lose two points instead of gaining three.


OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN: Gabon failed to meet expectations

Their carelessness was pounced on by Burkina Faso and Cameroon, who have learned from their past experiences. Les Etalons in particular surprised, with their abject performance in Equatorial Guinea now nothing more than history. The spirited performance against Cameroon was followed by another strong effort against the hosts.

In doing so, they overcame the hurdles many had expected them to fall at part in no thanks to the form of Alain Traore who has been a joy to watch alongside Prejuce Nakoulma who led the charge in the victory against Guinea Bissau. 

Four-time champs Cameroon, summarized the 21st century for their football in one game; going behind to what is probably Gabon 2017’s goal of the tournament via Piqueti Santos of the Guinea Bissau, and then a fifteen-minute salvo capped off by Ngadeu’s winning goal that showed the spirit of the Lions that terrorized defences at the turn of the century, rather than the meek and toothless ones that have failed to step up in recent times.


SADIO MANE: The Lion King of the Teranga
One record that will take some beating is that of Senegal’s who went unbeaten without dropping a single point during the qualification process. And they carried that form to Gabon as they look invisible at the moment. 

They are Africa’s form team and are the team who gives the continent hope should they make it to Russia. They are currently enjoying the rewards of bravery, having handed the reins to a 40-year old inexperienced former player who belongs to a new breed of young and educated African coaches.

The story Is entirely different for Algeria who are suffering from the sins of the fathers, having fired Christian Gourcuff and have now failed to reach the heights he took them to.

They look all over the place as things stand and should have probably finished the tournament pointless had Zimbabwean naivety not taken over. They play in stark contrast to their North African rivals, Tunisia who are built on team spirit and a relative ability to defend and counter attack at breath taking speed. 

Add to that the immense talent and skills of Wahbi Khazri and Youssef Msakni(who is set for a move to Europe, after many years in the Arabian Gulf) and you have yourself a machine that could win in Gabon. They have bounced back from their opening defeat well and look like proper semi-final candidates if all things remain equal, an attitude quite visible in their wins over Algeria and Zimbabwe.

It is one thing for a champion not to qualify to defend their title, it is another if the one that qualifies cannot even show its mettle as champions. 

Ivory Coast define the latter category and are no Elephants at all. They play like elephants whose trunks have been cut off and can’t trumpet anymore. They couldn’t break down a resilient Togolese side, they looked abject and will fly home along with the alleged whipping boys with the Sparrow Hawks almost certain to have won had Matthew Dossevi not been careless in front of goal.


ADE-FLY-HOME: Not as whipping boys but Togo are still going home.

The Leopards of DR Congo are the ones who look like champions, playing with a swagger second to none and creating all sorts of problems for their opponents, they were the ones could have won against Ivory Coast and are destined for greatness. 

The emergence of Junior Kabanaga couldn’t be more timely, with Mbokani and Bakambu struggling for form and confidence and with a Quarter final tie in sight, they must draw inspiration from two years ago to win a first title in over three decades. 

Following them closely are Morocco, whom the Ivorians could have learnt a lesson or two on how to beat Togo from. The Atlas lions have been the best side in the group and while mother luck looked away on Day 1, She smiled on Day 2. 

Herve Renard’s conquest to win a third AFCON is well and truly on, and for a man who knows his onions, it was ironic it was he who ended the reign of the team whom he led to the trophy two years previously.


BLACK STARS: The time must be now

Beaten finalists in 2015, Ghana once again have seized control of their destiny and will now look to close out a group they were favourites to win. Avram Grant’s tournament tactics has come for criticism in the Ghanaian media, but it is what has kept them going. 

For a team, yet to hit top gear, The Black Stars have done just enough buy edging one-nil victories, they will need four more similar results to end thirty-five years of heartbreak. If anyone deserves an AFCON title, its Gyan Asamoah. 

Their rivals, the Pharaohs seem to have somewhat taken measured steps on their return to the scene. Their seven triumphs are nothing but numbers and now, to make it eight, they must adapt to the changing face of the African game.


One man who has evolved is Essam el Hadary who has broken the record for oldest player. He was his old self in their opening two games and they will need him to be that man if he himself is to win a record fifth AFCON title. 

African Cup of Nations 2017: Everything You Need To Know (Part II)

Samba: The official mascot of the Gabon 2017 African Cup of Nations

Samba: The official mascot of the Gabon 2017 African Cup of Nations

I continue the analysis of teams that will be taking part in this year’s African Cup of Nations (AFCON). If you missed the first part, you can read it up here

CAMEROON

The Indomitable Lions: Another odd year, another year of expectations. (Photo credits: DailyMail)

The Indomitable Lions: Another odd year, another year of expectations. (Photo credits: DailyMail)

Nickname: The Indomitable Lions

Federation: FECAFOOT (Federation Cameroun de Football)

FIFA Ranking: 59th (as of December 2016)

The Coach:  HUGO BROOS (BEL)

The wily 64-year old Belgian is a RSC Anderlecht legend. For more than ten years he was their central defender and helped them win 4 Euro Cup finals, 3 national championships and 4 Belgian Cups. Between 1974 and 1986 he represented his country, earning 24 caps and finishing 4th at Mexico 1986. He later moved to Club Brugge where he played for 5 seasons till season 87–88, winning the Belgian Cup in 1986 and the championship in 1988.

He began coaching later in 1988 before he coached Club Brugge from 1991 to 1998, winning the championship twice in 1992 and 1996, as well as the Belgian Cup in 1991, 1995 and 1996. He went on to coach RSC Anderlecht getting them into the Champions League while winning the 2003–2004 season championship. He became Cameroon coach in 2016 and has instilled a new-found belief in the side with his task being to bring back the glory years for les Lions.

Star Man:

Danger Man: Vincent Aboubakar (Photo Credits: Super Sports)

Danger Man: Vincent Aboubakar (Photo Credits: Super Sports)

If Les Lions are to get going in Gabon, they will need the goals of VINCENT ABOUBAKAR to complement whatever plans they have. The Besiktas striker (aged 18 at the time), was named in the Lions’ 23-man squad for the 2010 FIFA World Cup and was the only player in the squad who was based in Cameroon then. He has assumed some sort of elderly status in the team along with Stephane Mbia as Alexandre Song seems far from the list. His 14 international goals from 47caps may not be monstrous, but those goals often came in moments where they were in dire need.

He has taken Samuel Eto’s mantle and while he may not be the captain, he has shown he is the catalyst they need to achieve full potential. His unique skill set often reminds one of Patrick Mboma. His eye for goal reminiscent of Samuel Eto and his sheer power takes you back to the Roger Milla. He however must lead his side to glory like the aforementioned men if he would go down in Cameroonian football history

The Team

Most Caps: Rigobert Song (137)

Top Scorer:  Samuel Eto (56 goals)

Previous appearances: 17 (1970,  1972, 1982, 1984, 1986, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2015)

Best Outing: Champions 4 times (1984, 1988, 2000, 2002)

The Indomitable Lions have qualified for consecutive Nations cup for the first time since 2010 and it would have been a huge relief as they topped a group including another African powerhouse in, South Africa. However, if Hugo Broos’ men are to succeed in Gabon, they will need more than just unity and team spirit. They will need some of their players stepping up and turning in high level performances.

Players like Clinton N’jie, Benjamin Moukandjo, Edgar Salli, Vincent Aboubakar and Collins Fai must make the seven who refused to honour the AFCON call up eat their words and wish they did. Enough of dwelling on the glory days of the 1990 Quarter final appearance or the four AFCON triumphs. 2002 is a long time to have last won a title for Les Lions and now is the time to show if they have got quality. Everything about the disastrous campaign in 2015 must be forgotten because the only way they can look now is forward.

The fixtures:

14.01.2017:     BURKINA FASO VS. CAMEROUN

Time:              20H00

Venue:            Stade de l’Amitié

18.01.2017:     CAMEROUN VS. GUINÉE BISSAU

Time:              20H00

Venue:            Stade de l’Amitié

22.01.2017:     CAMEROUN VS. GABON

Time:              20H00

Venue:            Stade de l’Amitié

My Prediction: Les Lions have been granted the perfect rehearsal for their own Nations Cup in 2019 with this group and hence must show they can cope with massive expectation and the pressure that comes with it. The talent in the side should help as the team looks in a formative process. A QUARTER FINAL appearance looks a safe bet if they can win their opener against the Burkinabe with the semis being a bridge too far.

GUINEA-BISSAU

Status Quo: The team looking to prove majority wrong by qualifying out of the group

Status Quo: The team looking to prove majority wrong by qualifying out of the group. (Photo Credits: Goal)

Nickname: Djuritus

Federation: FEFUGB (Federaacao de Futebol da Guine-Bissau

FIFA Ranking: 68 (December 2016)

The Coach:  BACIRO CANDE (GBU)

The 68-year old only returned in early 2016 after a six-year hiatus from coaching his fatherland. A defender in his playing days, Cande has instilled that same spirit in this team and while it has taken him sixteen years combined to take his home nation to Africa’s premier event, it has been worth the wait.

Star Man:  Levadaikos midfielder ZEZINHO is key to any success the Djuritus want to have in this AFCON tourney. The former Sporting Lisbon and Atletico Madrid player is the closest to a high-profile name in the squad and is an essential part of a well oiled unit. He would be hoping to outdo himself and become the greatest player to have pulled on the Green of Guinea Bissau

The Team:

Most Caps: Not available

Top Scorer: Ciecero (6)

Previous appearances: 0

Best record: 0

The fixtures:

14.01.2017:     GABON VS. GUINÉE BISSAU

Time:              17H00

Venue:            Stade de l’Amitié

18.01.2017:     CAMEROUN VS. GUINÉE BISSAU

Time:              20H00

Venue:            Stade de l’Amitié

22.01.2017:     GUINÉE BISSAU VS. BURKINA FASO

Time:              20H00

Venue:            Stade de Franceville

The Djuritus have continued the tradition of having Portuguese-speaking African countries at the AFCON, one which Angola kicked off in 2006. Their aim however will border on how they set themselves up against their opponents. Seen as the whipping boys of the group, and a point booster, they must challenge the hierarchy just like Cape Verde did in 2013.

Baciro Cande has not hidden the fact that he will set up his side to defend, but tactical intelligence and awareness could be just as key as it could be a key factor in Gabon. The stage is however set, and all they can do is bask in their moment of glory come January 14 in Librevelle. It will be the dawn of a new beginning of the Portuguese Guinea, they cannot allow it to be the end too.

My Prediction: The fans of Guinea Bissau will definitely enjoy themselves in Gabon, its only that it could be for a few days. The strength and might of the opposition may seem too much, especially the opening game; one which could decide their international tournament future. Do the impossible and continue the fairytale. Lose and start questioning your confidence. I might love Cinderella stories, but a GROUP STAGE exit is almost a surety here.

6 Talking Points From #FootballThisPastWeek

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There has been a lot of footballing action over the past week. I’m sure you’ll agree with me that there’s been enough to have been able to watch at least two everyday!

Phew! That’s a lot… for some.

But not for the football fans.

From the amazing goal scored by Shaqiri to the not-so-eventful Croatia – Portugal game and the Copa America final, football has given all a whole lot to talk about this past week.

And out of all the events that happened, I’ve selected a few to talk about (or write about?).

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-Rangers International Can Win the Nigerian Professional Football League
At least the Enugu side are playing like they want to. On Friday, Rangers entertained Warri Wolves, beat them 2-1 and OUTPLAYED them by all means!

Rangers were the FASTER, BETTER and STRONGER side of the evening as they showed off title-winning potentials: A great defense line, midfielders that can continuously string out defense-splitting passes to either find out wingers with amazing speed or pick out strikers who finish with aplomb.

May sound exaggerating but it’s not. Really.

Their flankers had some sort of terrifying speed that the Warri Wolves could not defend against. And everytime Rangers attacked, they seemed like they would score.

Maybe Enyimba should be looking over their shoulders (and ahead of them too as Rangers are now second on the NPFL table with the Aba Elephants currently sixth) as it seems another club is playing like they want the NPFL trophy so badly.

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Portgual’s Lucky Euro 2016 Run (or not?)
I’m not even sure if those are the right words to describe Portugal’s run so far in the Euro 2016. Might need a, erm, more luckier word than the word “lucky.”

From not winning any of their group games to qualifying out of their group as a “Best Loser”, you’d have thought Portugal had been lucky enough.

They were drawn against Croatia in the second round and the people’s verdict was simple and straight-forward: Portugal are out of Euro 2016. Some, not all the people.

But Mama Luck wasn’t done with C. Ronaldo and co just yet. Portugal which did not have any shot-on-target in the entire 90 minutes, managed to scored the winning goal with their second shot-on-target in the 117th minute.

Croatia, the favourites, were sent home. Portugal, the underdogs, move a step closer to glory.

Now let me ask: If that wasn’t luck, I’m wondering, what could it be?

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Nigeria and the CAF World Cup Qualifiers’ Group of Death
Algeria, Cameroon, Nigeria, Zambia. All of these countries in one group in a football competition.

If it was a normal football tournament where two countries could qualify, as a Nigerian, I wouldn’t have been too worried. The Euro 2016 scenario, where a “Best Loser” could still qualify, would have been even more calming.

But you can imagine how skeptical I was, as a Nigerian, when I remembered it was a World Cup Qualifier and ONLY one team could get the ticket to, this time, Russia 2018.

I started to think: How could a team without a coach beat the likes of Algeria after the Nigeria – Egypt AFCON qualifiers experience? Cameroon? Can the Super Eagles even beat Zambia?

The topic was raised on the blog’s forum (reach me here if you want to join in the discussion). All (myself included), except one (out of 40), concluded that Nigeria could not make it out of that group and qualify for Russia.

The debate shifted to the possible positions Nigeria could finish in. The conclusion? Majority seemed to think Nigeria would finish either second or third.

What do you think? Share your thoughts with me in the comments section below.

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Copa America Final
Even though the competition in the U.S.A was overwhelmed by the Euros, the Copa America caught it’s own fair share of the media’s eye.

While the competition was on, it was hard to ignore scorelines like Chile’s white-washing of Mexico 0-7 and Argentina’s 4-0 thrashing of the USMNT.

But the final was the mega one. The clash of the titans. Chile vs Argentina. Names were pitched against names, head-to-head and all. In the end, Chile beat Argentina 4-2 on penalties after a goalless 90 minutes.

Screenshot_2016-06-27-09-43-33-1

And there were two major talking points. No, make that three:
– Messi missed a penalty.
– The win meant Chile had now beaten Argentina to the Copa back-to-back.
– Alexis Sanchez was voted the tourney’s MVP.
– Messi cried.
– Messi retired.
– Messi, with Argentina, had successfully missed out on 3 trophies, in the last 3 summers, back-to-back-to-back.

Screenshot_2016-06-27-09-37-17-1

Just in case you’re wondering, I just multiplied Argentina’s back-to-back-to-back trophy losses with Chile’s back-to-back trophy wins. There you go. 6 talking points!

But Why Did Vardy Turn Arsenal Down?
It’s been one of those weird seasons where every Arsenal fan seem to know which player Arsene Wenger will buy. Usually, they’re always in the dark, not knowing which rabbit the Frenchman would pull out of his hat.

I don’t think much expected the Arsenal-Vardy links. But the news kept getting stronger and speculations were rife.

Some football fans were not sure what to think of the move. Leicester had just qualified for the UEFA Champions League. So why leave the Foxes for the Gunners?

Over the week, Vardy signed a new four-year contract with Leicester and “dashed” all hopes of an Arsenal move.

But, why did he turn down Arsenal? Or any other move for that matter? What will another season with Leicester prove?

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The Week of Retirements
When a Swedish king like Zlatan Ibrahimovic decides to retire from international football, it’s a sad day.

Like as if it couldn’t get any sadder, Leo Messi the Argentine Legend, decided to quit international football too! Two super stars leaving the international football scene!

Screenshot_2016-06-27-09-35-44-1

For Ibrahimovic, maybe the age factor was one that played a big role in causing him to hang the “International Boots.” But I’m still unsure why Messi decided to quit on Argentina at such a “young and tender” age of 29.

Three final losses in a row could be disheartening enough to make anyone give up. But even though Leo has “hung” his international boots, I’m sure the Argentina FA (AFA) will be scheming several ways to “unhang” those boots.

Worthy Mentions

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If you haven’t seen Shaqiri’s goal against Poland, you should check it out. One of the best of the Euro 2016 so far.

I can’t emphasize enough, the beautiful penalty-takers that Poland have. Against Switzerland, they kept rifling spotkicks into the top corner of the net!

Do you have any additions to my list? Something that caught your eye over the past week? Let me know! Share with me and others in the comments section below.

Also, don’t forget to share this great post with your friends. Sharing is caring! Share it with them and they’ll thank you. 😉

About Author
Rotimi Daramola is a freelance football writer, football analyst and football content creator that is in love with the beautiful game. You can keep up with all of his writing and also engage with him on Twitter @rotdav and on LinkedIn