As the build-up to the destiny-shaping and back-to-back World Cup qualifying encounters with rivals and eastern neighbours, Cameroon begins, former Nigerian international, Ike Shorunmu, told Sports Village Square that he wants the Super Eagles to beat the Indomitable Lions and thereby avenge the bitter loss of 2000 Africa Cup of Nations.
Sports Village Square recalls that Ike Shorunmu was in goal for Nigeria in the February 13, 2000 final match at a jam packed National Stadium, Lagos when Cameroon upstaged the Super Eagles 4-3 in the ensuing penalty kick shoot-out after regulation time and extra time score lines stood at 2-2.
The Cameroonian had begun on offensive note scoring two goals in quick succession in four minutes. The then young Samuel Eto’o first scored in the 26th minute before ageing Patrick Mboma doubled the lead in the 31st.
Nigeria then began a fight back, pulling a goal back almost with the last kick of the first half as Chukwu Ndukwe scrambled the ball in to reduce the tally.
Nigeria opened the second half with a ferocious attack leading to Austin Okocha unleashing a long range shot within two minutes of the restart to level scores. But that was where the struggle stopped for Nigeria.
Cameroon prevailed in the later penalty shootout as Nwankwo Kanu missed his shot, while that of Victor Ikpeba was misjudged. Vivian Foe also missed for Cameroon. A win of the match would have earned Nigeria a third and eternal win of the particular trophy at stake that year.
Rather, the honour went to Cameroon which won for keeps, the then “Unity Cup” that was incidentally first put at stake in Nigeria in 1980.
For the encounters of September 1 in Uyo and the return leg in Cameroon on September 5, Ike Shorunmu wants nothing but a sweet vengeance for the pain inflicted in 2000. Incidentally, the 2000 defeat Nigeria suffered was the last from Cameroon.
Sports Village Square recalls that subsequent matches at the 2004 Africa Cup of Nations in Tunisia, Nigeria eliminated Cameroon 2-1 in the quarter finals apart from defeating the bitter rivals 3-0 in a June 1, 2003 LG Cup match in Lagos and another 3-0 in an October 11, 2015 Friendly match in Vise, Belgium.
But in spite of the strings of victories Nigeria have had over Cameroon since the 2000 Africa Cup of Nations, Shorunmu believes beating the Indomitable Lions in the important World Cup qualifying games will be more gratifying.
“Nigerians are anxiously waiting to see the Super Eagles revenge the 2000 Africa Cup of Nations loss. The Cameroonian will definitely be coming to Nigeria with the aim of gaining a point.
“We know they are currently the African champions, but I believe they are beatable. We should also use the match to wipe off the bitter home loss to South Africa in June.
“I am using this medium to urge the current Super Eagles to beat Cameroon by gaining more points in the forthcoming two matches”.