A fixture between five times African Champions Cameroon and three times African Champions Nigeria is always a most watch event.
Nigeria and Cameroon have battled it out at the AFCON finals on three occasions with Cameroon coming out victorious all three times.
Ivory Coast 1984
The Same Eagles headed into this tournament as favorites after winning the tournament four years earlier. The two sides headed into the finals on the back of Penalty shootout Semi finals victories. Nigeria had defeated Egypt 8-7 on penalty shoot out after a 2-2 regular time scoreline and Cameroon defeating Algeria 5-4 on penalty shoot out after a goalless draw in regular time. With the Super Eagles heading into the finals unbeaten, they were the first to open the score through Musa Lawal just 10 minutes into the fixture. A a beautiful Theophile Abega assist coupled with a N’Dheya’s finish 22 minutes later made sure the Indomitable Lions headed into half time level on scores.
Best player of the tournament award winner Theophile Abega added a second for Cameroon in the 79th minute. Ebongue sealed the victory for the Lions five minutes later, rubbing more salt in the Nigerians wounds. It was Cameroon’s first ever African Cup of nation’s title.
Morocco 1988 AFCON finals
Their second ever meeting in the AFCON finals between the two giants was in the 1988 tournament. Cameroon met Nigeria twice in this tournament, with the first meeting coming in the group stage and the second in the finals. The two sides played a one all draw in the group stage. Sam Okwaraji opened the scoring for Nigeria just two minutes into the match but Roger Milla got the equalizer for the Indomitable Lions in the 21st minute. At the time, a group stage win counted for two points instead of three points in our current day football. Nigeria finished top of the group with 4 points after getting a win over Kenya and a draw with Cameroon and Egypt. Cameroon finished second in the group with 4 points thanks to a 1-0 win over Egypt and two draws with Nigeria and Kenya.
The two sides met again in the finals of thesame tournament and this time it was heart break for the Nigerians. The match looked like it was headed into extra time when the referee awarded a penalty in the 54th minutes for an infringement in the box. Emmanuel Kunde made no mistake from the spot handing the Indomitable Lions their second ever AFCON title.
The sweetest of all the victories came in 2000 when Cameroon defeated Nigeria in the 2000 finals in Nigeria. Arguably one of the greatest AFCON finals ever, Nigeria had a top hill task to defeat arguably the greatest African team in history. Skills, goals, big names, the game had it all. Nigeria did not know what hit them when two quick strikes from Samuel Eto’o and Patrick Mboma put the Indomitable Lions ahead just 31 minutes into the match.
Cameroon continued to press for most of the first half, and hit the post on an occasion. Surprise selection, Raphael Chukwu placed a low level shot at the back of the net to reduce the deficit to one before halftime. Then Okocha scored a long range shot to even the scoreline. Eto’o attempted to put Cameroon ahead again, but had his shot hit the sidebar. Substitute, Babagida also had a finely placed shot on target saved by Cameroon, goalkeeper, Bouker. Victor Ikpeba had a long range header go off target.
It look certain the game will be decided on Penalties. Kanu and Ikpeba both missed their spot kicks for Nigeria with only late Marc Vivian Foe missing his penalty for Cameroon. Rigobert Song’s penalty won in for Cameroon,their third ever AFCON trophy.