Cameroon defender Claudine Falonne Meffometou

Nigeria and Cameroon vie for familar ground at Cup of Nations

RFI | History sides with Nigeria in their clashes with Cameroon at the Cup of Nations. The Super Falcons have won 10 of the 14 encounters since the inception of the tournament in 1991.

Four of those meetings have been in finals when the event was an eight team affair.

Clash number 15 takes place at a 12-team event on Thursday night in Casablanca with a place in the semi-final up for grabs.

And with the 2022 Cup of Nations doubling up as qualifiers for the 2023 World Cup, a berth in the last four also leads to a slot at the global event in Australia and New Zealand.

Not a time then for inferiority complexes.

“It is true that we always seem to be losing to Nigeria,” said defender Claudine Falone Meffometou.

Fight

“So it is up to us to put all the elements together to break this chain. We have to give it our all.”

Both sides go into the clash at the Stade Mohamed V as runners-up. Cameroon finished behind Zambia in Group B and Nigeria lost out to South Africa in Group C.

Both teams boast enough experience to forget group stage form and focus on the impending 90 minutes.

A smart option for any team facing Nigeria whose teams have lifted nine of the 11 Cup of Nations tournaments.

“It is high time to tell Nigeria that we have grown up too,” said Cameroon boss Gabriel Zago. “Nigeria understood the value of women’s soccer before many other African nations.

“From now on, Cameroon also puts all the necessary means to develop women’s soccer. That is why the gap between our two nations has really narrowed.”

Place

Cameroon are seeking qualification for a third consecutive appearance at the World Cup. Nigeria have played at every tournament from the beginning in 1991.

No other African nation offers such a résumé. “Nigeria has always been the team to beat at the Cup of Nations,” said defender Osinachi Ohale.

“When you come to a tournament like this and everyone wants to knock you down, you can’t let up. You keep working, trust the people who coach you and your teammates.”

Defeat on Thursday night will end interest in the Cup of Nations but the quest for a World Cup will continue. All four of the losing quarter-finalists will take part in a repechage for two slots from the African confederation in the intercontinental play-offs.

“Yes, Cameroon wants to beat us,” added Ohale. “But we want to continue to beat them and continue to win. That’s why we are here.”

The winners will take on hosts Morocco on Monday night at the Stade Prince Moulay Abdallah in Rabat.

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