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Thursday, December 7, 2023

CHAN Preview: Niger takes relaxed approach into must-win match against Cameroon

Algeria’s second largest city of Oran will play host to the final match in Group E at the 2022 African Nations Championship with group favorites Cameroon taking on a Niger team with nothing to lose. Following their opening match victory against Republic of Congo, Cameroon’s Intermediate Lions are top of the group and only need a draw to advance to the quarterfinals. A draw against Congo for Niger means the Ménas will need to upset Cameroon to sneak into the final eight.

The Cameroonian team has been paying respect to their opponents but it is clear that the Lions are expecting nothing less than a victory on Tuesday. Coach Saidou Alioum put it succinctly in his pre-match comments, “It is true that Cameroon is a great football nation. We like pressure. We want pressure.” Cameroon will expect its stars to push the team through and avoid any close finishes with winger Jerome Ngom Mbekeli and central midfielder Djawal Kaïba among the players to watch.

However the Cameroonian defense looked shaky at times against Congo and that is something the Nigerien team can exploit if the Ménas keep the match close and tight. Niger coach Harouna Doula pointed out that the favorites did not defeat the Congolese with ease: “We saw the mistakes that they made when they were under pressure from the Congolese in their first game so we shall draw some inspiration from that ahead of our game against them tomorrow.”

Doula and his side will draw inspiration from the many Nigerien supporters who have made their way to Oran. Niger will count on their defense led by captain Boureima Katkoré to keep the match close but finding a goal will be a challenge after the 0-0 draw with Congo which was characterized by very poor attacking play from the Ménas.

Pressure is on Cameroon not Niger – Doula (CAF Online)
“We like pressure as Cameroon” – Alioum (CAF Online)