Man of the match Wilfred Ndidi of Nigeria during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Finals match between Nigeria and Burundi at the Alexandria Stadium, Alexandria on the 22 June 2019 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix
Monday Jul 08, 2019. 10:15
Nigeria manager Gernot Rohr has cited his team’s midfield and superior fitness as the reasons behind their 3-2 triumph over Cameroon in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
The Super Eagles defeated the reigning champions in a Nations Cup classic in Alexandria on Saturday, earning a showdown with South Africa in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.
Rohr admitted that coming up against a powerhouse like Cameroon so early in the competition was never part of the plan.
“Just after the Madagascar match we had some few days, we didn't want to lose this match, we wanted to finish first in the group and avoid a team like Cameroon, [but] we could not,” Rohr said at the post-match press conference.
''We wanted to give competition to some of our players and I am very happy with the players that lost to Madagascar but could not participate today.
''This victory was a difficult match, everybody knows Cameroon have a very good team, we dominated in the beginning, scored a good goal and then in the end of the first half there was a lack of concentration and Cameroon got their goals.”
Rohr praised the midfielders – Wilfred Ndidi, Oghenekaro Etebo and Alex Iwobi (who scored the decisive goal) – for their efforts after the interval.
''In the second half, we tried to have a better organisation in the midfield and also to believe still in the victory,” the German continued.
“[The] players were disappointed at half-time but my young team did not give up and continued to fight.
''We had better organisation in the midfield in the second half, I must say that we had two days more to prepare for the match, towards the end of the second half we had a little bit more fitness than them.
''Congratulations to the Cameroon team, to have a good football match you need two good teams.”