*Rohr: We are fully focused on claiming three points in Uyo
Super Eagles camp in Uyo got off to a bubbling start yesterday as 24 players filed out for training ahead of Friday’s World Cup 2018 qualifier against Cameroon.
All the invited 24 players trooped out of their Ibom Meridien Hotel camp for Tuesday’s training sessions at the practice pitch of the Godswill Akpabio Stadium.
Expectedly, John Mikel Obi led the team that included Abdullahi Shehu, Aaron Samuel, Moses Simon, Uche Agbo, Leon Balogun, John Ogu, Anthony Nwakaeme and Victor Moses who all arrived the Akwa Ibom capital yesterday for the first feel of the pitch.
Early birds like Ogenyi Onazi, Oghenekaro Etebo, Kelechi Iheanacho, William Ekong, Ahmed Musa, 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 on Monday all showed enthusiasm to cage the Cameroonian Lions on Friday. The team’s final training sessions today and tomorrow will be behind closed gates as fans and journalists are barred.
Technical Adviser, Gernot Rohr, admitted yesterday that his wards were fully focused on what pundits have referred to as Nigeria’s biggest match of the year.
“It is a big match and we are fully focused and committed. The players know what it means; they need little or no reminding of how important this match is. I am happy we have almost the full house now and can concentrate on our tactics for the game,” observed the Franco-German coach aiming to lead Nigeria to her sixth appearance at the Mundial scheduled to hold in Russia next year.
Table-topping Eagles are confident of overhauling the Indomitable Lions when both teams clash in perhaps the biggest match of Africa’s Group B of the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying race on Friday.
Reigning African champions Cameroon come to town at a time the Eagles are fully committed to establishing an unassailable lead in the pool, and on the back of Nigeria having won the last three encounters between both nations at senior level.
Cameroon won the African title in Gabon early in the year – a championship for which Nigeria failed to qualify – and then tucked three big games under their belt at the FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia in the summer. Yet, they have a mountain to climb against a Nigerian side ready to rise to the occasion in front of a partisan home crowd at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium.
The Lions will derive little comfort from glancing at the Group B table, on which they lag behind Nigeria with as many as four points, and also realize they have never beaten Nigeria in a World Cup qualifying match played in Nigeria.
Cameroon’s Indomitable Lions manager, Hugo Broos on Monday admitted that the Lions face an uphill task of beating Eagles in Uyo.
“If we still have the chance to qualify, we must take at least four points out of six against Nigeria.
“If that is not the case, I think it will not be possible to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. It will become very difficult.
“These are two important matches. And even after that there will be Zambia and Algeria, four important games,” stressed the coach who led Cameroon to win AFCON 2017 last February.
Broos and the Indomitable Lions are expected to land in Uyo today.
The match in Uyo is the first of two World Cup qualifiers between Nigeria and Cameroon. The second meeting is slated for the Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo in Yaounde on September 4.