How Eagles can subdue Cameroon – Rufai

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Peter Rufai

Peter Rufai insists the Super Eagles  will only triumph in their   Group B Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying double-header   against Cameroon’s Indomitable Lions if  Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr features players who are ready to fight on the pitch.

The Eagles host their fierce rivals  in Uyo on August 31 and travel to Yaounde for the reverse fixture on September 4.

Nigeria sit atop the group on six points, followed by  African champions Cameroon on  two points. Zambia and Algeria who are other teams in the group have one point each.

Rohr has been hit by a goalkeeping crisis in the run-up to the double-header after his first choice keeper Carl Ikeme was  diagnosed with acute leukaemia last month.

And Rufai, who expressed concern over the goalkeeping crisis facing the Eagles, warns  Rohr  not to gamble on team selection over the two legs.

“Any match between Nigeria and Cameroon is always explosive and I don’t expect these World Cup  qualifiers  to be different,” the former Portuguese  outfit   Farense custodian told our correspondent  in  Lagos on Tuesday.

“The two matches (in Uyo and Yaounde)  will be very tough  for us, we must be ready for them.”

Rufai,  who represented  Nigeria  at the  USA ’94 and France ’98 World Cups, says Rohr should   feature good quality and experienced players  to enable the Eagles to survive the  highly physical  Cameroonian  players.

He said, “Cameroon  believes  in experienced  players. Many Cameroonian  players play for  their national team  for  years,  unlike  us.

“We  must play our experienced  players  against them. We shouldn’t gamble on playing inexperienced players  against   them.”

“Our players must be ready to fight the opponents throughout the game.”

The former Stationery Stores shot-stopper  believed Rohr and his charges had learnt  some lessons  from their 2-0 defeat by South Africa’s Bafana Bafana  in their 2019  Africa  Cup  of  Nations qualifier in Uyo on  June 10.”

Former Gabon  manager Rohr started youngster  Chidozie Awaziem   in  the  heart of  the Eagles’ defence,  dropping   South Africa   2013  Africa Cup of Nations  winner Kenneth Omeruo to  the bench.

Bafana exploited the weaknesses in the Nigerian defence to  beat  them for the first time in  a competitive affair.

“They  (Eagles) shouldn’t make the mistakes   they  made  against South Africa against Cameroon,” Rufai said.

On  the goalkeeping   crisis  facing  the Eagles ahead of the World Cup qualifiers, the former Lokeren keeper  said  the Nigeria  Football Federation Technical  Committee would  help   Rohr as the  German  searches for  Ikeme’s  replacement.

“Nigeria is so  big    that  finding a  good  keeper should not be a problem,” he said.

However, Rufai said he would   support Rohr  if  he   chooses  the much vilified Chippa United  keeper Daniel   Akpeyi  as the man between the sticks for the Eagles versus Cameroon.

He said,  “Akpeyi shouldn’t be blamed for the defeat   against South Africa. He did his best in the game.

“The entire team should  be blamed for the defeat. After all the ball went past the attackers, midfielders and defenders before getting to  his position.

“The Eagles should  come together as a collective unit against  Cameroon.”Punch

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