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Eagles biggest flop ? Mikel

Eagles keen to cage Lions of Cameroun

Th e Nigeria Super Eagles are poised to make the Russia 2018 World Cup, and have promised to fi re from all cylinders until the visiting Indomitable Lions of Cameroun surrender three points in today’s world cup qualifying match at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo, capital of Akwa Ibom state.

Th e game will certainly be crunchy, as both teams have vowed to go for each other’s jugular to amass the maximum three points at stake.

But judging by the quality of players Nigeria will be parading, the camerounians are not expected to leave Uyo unscathed at the end of the game.

Nigeria currently sit atop of the Group B of the World Cup qualifi ers with six maximum points from their fi rst two matches while Cameroun are second with two points having played draws in their previous two games.

At the head of the 22 players listed by the Super Eagles Coach Gernot Rohr to do the battle for Nigeria is Captain Mikel John Obi.

Others are: Moses Simon, Uche Agbo, Leon Balogun, John Ogu, Anthony Nwakaeme and Victor Moses, joining up with Mikel Obi, Ogenyi Onazi, Oghenekaro Etebo, Kelechi Iheanacho, William Ekong, Ahmed Musa, Abdullahi Shehu, Aaron Samuel Chidozie Awaziem, Ola Aina, Daniel Akpeyi, Ikechukwu Ezenwa, Mikel Agu, Odion Ighalo, Wilfred Ndidi, Dele Alampasu, Elderson Echiejile and Tyronne Ebuehi who made it to Uyo When the two teams last clashed, at the Edmond Machtens Stadium in Brussels in October 2015, the Eagles ran away 3-0 winners.

Efe Ambrose rose highest in the Lions’ box to nod home a Mikel John Obi free –kick, before Moses Simon rounded the goalkeeper for the second goal and Odion Ighalo headed the third after a splendid pull –out by Elderson Echiejile.

Th ese four players- Mikel, Simon, Ighalo and Echiejile, who are also in Eagles squad, will, obviously, be raring to repeat same feat in today’s encounter.

In 19 previous encounters, Nigeria have been winners 11 times, with Cameroon winning four times and four matches drawn.

And it will be the 12th triumph should the Eagles win this timeout again.

Cameroun has never infl icted home defeat on Nigeria and the Eagles captain Mikel has assured Nigerians that the jinx will not be broken during his time.

Mikel, who represented Nigeria at the 2014 FIFA World Cup fi nals in Brazil, says he and his colleagues are targeting nothing but a victory over the visitors.

“Th ere is always a motivation going to the World Cup.

World Cup is the best tournament in the world and everyone wants to be there,” Mikel said.

“I think for most of the players here, it’s going to be their fi rst World Cup and we are ready to make sure that Nigeria qualify.

“I know the players know what is at stake in the game on Friday and also the return leg.

We started this race in Zambia and the players know the task ahead,” the China-based midfi elder continued.

“We want to go to the World Cup; it’s as simple as that.

And there are no easy ways of doing that; we have to win the games.

“We have to make sure that we are undeterred, focused and play well.

A win is a win if we can get a win on Friday, it doesn’t matter how we play.

” Giving the country same assurances, Eagles Coach, Rohr, that his wards are fully focused on what pundits have referred to as Nigeria’s biggest match of the year, adding that all strategies have been perfected to ensure that the Indomitable Lions are not only dominated but caged in Uyo.

“It is a big match and we are fully focused and committed.

Th e players know what it means; they need little or no reminding of how important this match is.

I am most happy we have a full house of the required players to do the job.

“Th e tactics to win the game have been designed and we are good to go.

Victory is ours,” said the FrancoGerman coach.

Th ough Nigeria seem favoured to win the encounter due to the fact that Cameroun are believed to have been depleted by injuries as two of their key players that won the 2017 African Nations Cup in Gabon won’t be available, but Coach Hugo Broos is still confi dent they have what it take to upset the Eagles at home.

Cameroon attackers Clinton N’Jie and Karl Toko Ekambi will be missed in the game but the Belgian tactician is likely to bank on Benjamin Moukandjo, Vincent Aboubakar and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting to fi ll their space.

And Christian Bassogog is another deadly player that the Eagles have to watch out in this mother of all battles.

Bassogog emerged the Most Valuable Player of the 2017 Nation Cup, and he be a big factor in the Camerounian team.

“Clinton is one of our best performers, same thing with Karl, but still I believe we can make it against Nigeria.

“Th eir injuries can’t deter us because we have capable replacements.

Our target is to grab at least four points from Nigeria.

May be play a draw at their home, and then beat them in Younde in the second lega,” Broos boasted.

For this all important match, Zimbabwean Brighton Mudzamiri will be referee assessor while Grisha will take charge at the centre.

Moroccan offi cial Redouane Achik will serve as Assistant Referee 1 and Sudanese Waleed Ahmed Ali will be Assistant Referee 2.

Grisha’s compatriot, Mahmoud Zakaria Mohamed El Banna will serve as Reserve Referee while Jean Medard Kossa, from Congo Brazzaville will be match commissioner.

Today’s match comes up at 5.

00 pm Nigeria time while the return leg of the qulifi ers holds at the Stade Omnisports Ahmadou Ahidjo in Yaounde on Monday at 6.00 pm.

About Stories by Gbenga Jolaosho Abuja