By Tony Ubani
Patrick Mboma, arguably one of Cameroon’s best strikers of all time has warned Nigerian soccer fans to brace up for a heartbreak when the Indomitable Lions play the Super Eagles at the Nest of Champions, Uyo, in the 2018 Russia World Cup qualifier on September 1.
Henri Patrick Mboma Dem, the former all-time top goal-scorer for the Cameroonian national team is in Morocco with other former African stars at the invitation of CAF for the Symposium on African Football.
Mboma who works for Canal Plus, analyzing and running commentaries for the French Channel realizing we were Nigerian journalists roared into laughter after being asked for his opinion on the expected cracker between Nigeria and Cameroon. “The result is already known”, he laughed again before saying “Cameroon will break hearts of Nigerians on September 1”.
“As it was in the beginning, Cameroon will win in Nigeria and win in Cameroon. We know how to handle Nigeria”, the lanky striker renowned for his scoring long distance goals with his powerful left foot, said. The Super Eagles who top the group ahead of Cameroon have equally expressed optimism of picking the back to back games to consolidate their position in the group and pick the one spot ahead of the Lions to hoist Nigeria’s flag in Russia.
Nigeria and Cameroon have fierce rivalry dating back to the 1960s but Mboma said Nigerians should remember the 2000 African Cup of Nations final where they denied the Eagles the chance of winning the Cup.
“That victory was painful to Nigerians and that is exactly what we are coming back to do on September 1”, Mboma, who started his domestic football career in 1993, and played for Châteauroux, Paris Saint-Germain, FC Metz, Gamba Osaka, Cagliari, Parma, Sunderland, Al Ittihad, Tokyo Verdy and Vissel Kobe, before retiring on May 16, 2005, said.
In the final of the 2000 Nations Cup in Lagos, after a 2-2 draw, the Lions won 4-3 in a penalty shoot-out overshadowed by controversy.
Television replays showed that Victor Ikpeba’s kick, which was ruled out, actually crossed the goal-line, though with Ikpeba carrying his hands on his ahead in an apparent gesture that he missed. Reminded of the Africa Cup of Nations in Tunisia 2004 where Jay Jay’s magical free kick and Utaka’s goal sent them crashing, Mboma acknowledged that games between Nigeria and Cameroon are always tough but noted that the African champions had inflicted more painful defeats on their Nigerian opposites.
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