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Nigeria vs Cameroon: Match preview, team news as Super Falcons tackle Lionesses in 2024 Olympics qualifier

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There is all to play for when the two continental giants face off in the second leg of the third-round qualifying fixture

Nigeria and Cameroon will give it another go at the MKO Abiola Stadium in Abuja on Monday as the race for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, France, hots up.

The two African powerhouses played out a goalless draw when they met in Douala on Friday for the first leg.

Despite playing away from home, Nigeria would feel unlucky not to secure a victory over their central African neighbours in that encounter.

The Super Falcons created the better chances and even had an Esther Okoronkwo goal wrongfully ruled out for offside.

The former African champions will look for a repeat of that excellent performance in Abuja on Monday, with a win of any margin guaranteed to see them advance to the next round of the qualifying campaign.

Cameroon can, however, be convinced that the tie remains delicately balanced, and an away goal could change the complexion of the fixture in their favour.

Nigeria were in a similar position in 2019 ahead of the 2020 Olympics. The Super Falcons drew goalless in Cote d’Ivoire in the first leg but failed to soar in the return leg as the Ivorians secured a 1-1 draw in Lagos.

Head-to-head

While Nigeria and Cameroon are widely considered to be two of the continent’s female football frontliners, the records show the West Africans hold a superior advantage over the Lionesses.

The Super Falcons have won nine and lost only two of their last 12 games against the Cameroonians.

The last time the two teams played on Nigerian soil was in a friendly at the National Stadium Abuja in 2014. Nigeria won 1-0.

A similar result will be enough to lift Nigeria to the final round of the qualifiers where South Africa could already be waiting.

Team news

Head coach Randy Waldrum is back with the Super Falcons after taking a timeout following the conclusion of the 2023 World Cup.

Twenty-one of Nigeria’s finest footballers are also at his beck and call, including reigning Africa Women Player of the Year Asisat Oshoala, Michelle Alozie, Christy Ucheibe, and Ashleigh Plumptre among others.

No injury reports were documented after the first leg clash, so all the girls should be ready to have a go again on Monday.

Oshoala started as Nigeria’s centre-forward on Friday, but coach Waldrum could look for more bite and hunger in attack than what the Bay FC forward offered.

Ifeoma Onumonu and Gift Monday are lively alternatives, while Okoronkwo looked sharp when she came on.

Jennifer Echegini has been excellent for Juventus since switching to Europe, and she could do a job for the Super Falcons when trusted with more time.

Nigeria’s midfield – anchored by Ucheibe, Halimotu Ayinde, and Deborah Abiodun – remains arguably the best on the continent.

At the same time, the defensive rock of Osinachi Ohale and Tosin Demehin is as solid as ever.

Africa’s best goalkeeper, Chiamaka Nnadozie, will be on hand to clean up any remnant that can elude her backline.

Cameroon’s Indomitable Lionesses arrived safely in Abuja on Sunday morning for the encounter.

Probable lineup

Possible Nigeria lineup (4-3-3):
Nnadozie; Alozie, Ohale, Demehin, Alozie; Ucheibe, Ayinde, Abiodun; Ajibade, Echegini, Payne.

Possible Cameroon lineup (4-3-3):
Bihina; Ndzana, Maague, Manbolamo, Meffometou; Yango, Eto, Meyong; Nke, Kameni, Lamine Mana.

Match details

Competition: CAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying, Paris 2024
Match: Nigeria vs. Cameroon
Venue: Abuja National Stadium, Abuja
Date: Monday, 26 February 2024
Time: 4 pm (Nigerian time)

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