Cameroon's dramatic 3-2 victory over Gambia on Tuesday booked their place in the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) quarter-finals, where they will face arch-rivals Nigeria in a highly anticipated clash on January 27.
The two African giants, both boasting rich footballing histories, last met at the 2019 AFCON in Egypt, with the Super Eagles edging the Indomitable Lions 3-2 in a thrilling Round of 16 encounter. That defeat sent Cameroon crashing out of the tournament, but this time, Rigobert Song's men are determined to turn the tables.
Historically, Cameroon holds the upper hand in AFCON clashes against Nigeria, having emerged victorious in three finals: 1984 (3-1), 1988 (2-1), and 2000 (4-3 on penalties). However, the recent encounter in Egypt serves as a stark reminder of the Super Eagles' potential threat.
Tuesday's match against Gambia was a rollercoaster ride for Cameroon. After taking the lead through Karl Toko Ekambi's header, they found themselves trailing 2-1 with just minutes remaining. But fate intervened in the form of an own goal by Gambian defender James Gomez, followed by a last-gasp winner from Christopher Wooh, sending the Indomitable Lions into raptures.
The dramatic victory, described as "exceptional" by manager Song, highlighted the team's resilience and fighting spirit. "It wasn't easy at all," Song acknowledged, "but my players showed patriotism and fighting spirit, which is something we've often criticized them for. They never gave up on their quest for the three points."
The quarter-final encounter against Nigeria promises to be another nail-biter, with both teams eager to settle the score and advance further in the tournament. With Cameroon seeking revenge and Nigeria determined to defend their 2019 victory, the stage is set for a classic AFCON showdown.
Patricia Ngo Ngouem