Lorient’s French forward Benjamin Moukandjo controls the ball during the French Ligue 1 football match between SM Caen and FC Lorient on August 13, 2016 at the Michel d’Ornano stadium, in Caen, northwestern France. / AFP PHOTO / CHARLY TRIBALLEAU
Nigeria was not given any chance of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup when the draws pitched the Super Eagles against Algeria, Cameroun and Zambia, but now the 2013 African Nations Cup winners are so dreaded that no country from the continent wants to play against them.
The Super Eagles under Stephen Keshi and later Samson Siasia failed to qualify for the 2015 and 2017 Nations Cup, but since the team lost to Egypt in the last Gabon 2017 qualifier, they have not looked back.
According to owngoalnigeria.com, the Super Eagles recent run in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers is sending shock waves across Africa, with Camerounian forward, Benjamin Moukandjo, confessing that teams don’t want to play Nigeria at least for now.
Since the appointment of coach Gernot Rohr, the Super Eagles of Nigeria are yet to taste defeat, winning their three games under the German coach, with two coming in the World Cup 2018 qualifiers.
Super Eagles are top of their group with four points more than Cameroun, who they face in August next year, and Moukandjo, who plays for French side, Lorient, says they are lucky they are not playing Nigeria now.
“The fixture favours us a bit. We are lucky that we won’t play Nigeria anytime soon, which is on top form and shape at the moment. We are yet to pick up a win and we can’t say we are high in confidence like them, no team in Africa wants to face them now,” he said.
He added, “anything can happen from now till next year. We will definitely not give up on being at the World Cup in Russia, it’s too early to do that. There are lot of games that could go in our favour.”
While Moukandjo is praying that Nigeria’s powers would have whittled down before they meet Cameroun, Super Eagles Technical Adviser, Gernot Rohr, says there is no way the team will be match rusty before the next qualifier against Cameroun in August 2017
Given an insight on how he plans to prepare his team before Nigeria’s back to back World Cup 2018 qualifiers against Cameroun next year, Rohr said the players will have enough time to prepare. He added adding that he will also use the opportunity of the 2019 AFCON qualifying matches, which will also commence in March 2017 to prepare the players.