Cameroon manager Hugo Bross and veteran defender Henri Bedimo insist Algeria pose a greater threat to the Indomitable Lions’ World Cup qualification hopes than Nigeria.
Cameroon will meet their most fierce rivals Nigeria in the Russia 2018 World Cup final round qualifiers after being drawn together in Group B in the June 24 draw in Cairo. Algeria and Zambia are the other opponents in the group.
The Lions, who have appeared at the World Cup seven times (1982, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2010, 2014) – and the first to reach the quarterfinals (at Italy ’90) won the Abidjan ’84, Maroc ’88 and Ghana-Nigeria 2000 Africa Cup of Nations at the Super Eagles’ expense.
And Bedimo, who joined French giants Marseille from their Ligue 1 rivals Lyon last week, believes the Lions, who stopped Nigeria from qualifying for Italy ’90, can secure their eighth World Cup berth and pile more misery on the Eagles.
Nigeria have missed out on two successive Africa Cup of Nations – 2015, 2017 – after disastrous qualifying campaigns.
The 32-year-old admits Cameroon face a tough task in the group, warning his colleagues that they must take every qualifying fixture seriously.
“For me, I think we are in the group of death,” CAMFOOT quoted the right-back as saying during the week.
“Since it is only one team that will qualify for the World Cup, we must prepare well (for the qualifiers). But there is no need to fear.
“We should monitor the opponents and show a lot of courage.”
The former Toulouse defender, who emigrated to France when he was 15, added, “Algeria are to me the most formidable opponents in our group, because they have good players in their team. Algeria have been effective for almost two years, and will not want to miss out on the World Cup.
“Nigeria are a well-structured team that know how Cameroon play. We really have to be careful (about the Eagles).”
Belgian coach Bross expressed his delight at playing away to Algeria in their first group fixture on October 3 – and Nigeria in their third game on August 28, 2017.
“I am satisfied with the draw since we will be meeting Algeria and Nigeria at home first,” the 64-year-old former Anderlecht defender was quoted by Cameroon Tribune as saying.
“This will enable us to readjust if necessary at home. But for the first game against the Fennecs, I think the pressure will not be on our side. Algeria know they cannot afford to drop points at home, especially against direct rivals like us. It is for us to exploit this advantage to get a good result. Anyway, we must be at our best shape to face each of our opponents, especially mentally.”
But veteran Malaga goalkeeper Idriss Kameni says the Lions must not underestimate any opponents during the qualifiers.
Kameni, who dumped Espanyol for their Spanish La Liga rivals Malaga after spending eight years at the Barcelona club, admitted Cameroon had been drawn into a tough group.
The 32-year-old, who represented the Central African country at the 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2008 Africa Cup of Nations, said, “It’s a difficult group but we will have to fight hard to qualify. Cameroon have good chances to qualify because we a very good team full of young people who have the desire and potential.”