BY KUNLE SOLAJA, who was in Douala
It is 89 days to the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon. Nigeria’s Super Eagles in their 2-0 win over Central African Republic on Sunday had a feel of the Japoma Stadium, one of the designated six arenas for the delayed tournament.
The victory seems an harbinger to what they should expect when they begin the hunt for their fourth title at the Stade Roumdé Adjia in Garoua.
The venue is the furthermost stadium to the major theatre of activities in Douala, Yaounde, Bafoussam and Limbe. Owing to the distance and the weather condition, Garoua, the home town of former CAF President, Issa Hayatou, is considered unfavourable for the Super Eagles.
But a Cameroonian journalist, Lialian Neg is disabusing the minds of Nigerians. She was one of the Camerounian journalists locked out, along with those from Nigeria, from the proceedings of the Central African Republic – Nigeria World Cup qualifying match last Sunday.
Neg, like most Cameroonians, is looking forward to a Cameroon versus Nigeria final match as it had happened in 1984, 1988 and 2000. “Of course, I will wish Cameroon to win”, remarked Lillian Neg.
She said that ordinarily, there is a huge population of Nigerians in Camerooun, although largely in Yaounde and Douala, the proximity of Garoua to the Nigerian northern boarder is a ‘huge advantage’, said the journalist who is the Public Relations Officer of the Cameroonian Footballers’ National Union.
A Master Degree in International Law, she also worked at Le Démocrate newspaper as chief desk editor in charge of the English version specialized in national and international politics. Eight years of experience in this domain permitted her to write and publish a book in 2014 about the Iraqi war.
She has since the publication, she has been more active within football management and communication and writes for the Swedish independent on-line magazine, NewsVoice.se.
According to her, the Super Eagles are at great advantage in Garoua as against Egypt, Sudan and Guinea Bissau whose territories are further and most likely not going to have enough supporters.
According to her, Garoua, located on the bank of River Benue, has proximity to many Nigerian towns such as Yola, Jimeta, Mubi, Numan and Biu.
The only disadvantage could be the hot weather which most Europe-based Nigerian players may have challenges in adapting to.
When asked to comment on what appeared to be epileptic form of the Super Eagles which saw them losing at home to Central African Republic in Lagos, Lilian Neg remarked that it was sometimes difficult for a star-studded side to overcome a team without stars as the match will often be devoid of patterns.
“That am sure was what happened to your Super Eagles in Lagos”, Neg explained.