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Can Nwabili Stand Up To Be Counted Against Cameroon?

" It’s difficult to predict who is going to win the game at the moment.”: Roger Miller

Although Cameroon legend Roger Miller expects a tough battle between his Lions and our Eagles in the Afcon R16 game on Saturday, most observers already know where the battle line will be drawn – the respective goalkeepers of each team.

Whereas Cameroon boast of high calibre goalkeepers in highly credible leagues, Nigeria has had to call on South African based goalkeeper Nwabili to provide the much needed assurance that Cyprus based Uzoho failed to provide.

Having cemented the number one slot for this tournament with manageable but assured displays in the group stages, Nwabili still doesn’t see himself as de facto number one.

For the Punch newspaper, Nwabili said, “I am still not seeing myself as number one; I always say this. I only have an opportunity and I just want to play and give my best.”

Nigeria fans will be hoping Nwabili yet again rises to the occasion against Cameroon. For me, he looks very well grounded in between the sticks. But shortcomings in his grappling technique parrying skills were exposed against Guinea Bissau where he didn’t always look convincing grabbing the ball or punching away to safety. He also conceded a goal in the same match that was ruled out for marginal offside.

Erstwhile Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr believes Nwabili can do the business against Cameroon stating: “He (Nwabili)is calm and has very good control of his area.”

Whilst being impregnable in goal, Nwabili himself pleaded with fans to remain calm that the strikers will come good.

“For me, the goals will come when you have someone like Victor Osimhen; we are not worried about goals but about winning. And now we have qualified for the round of 16.”

Nwabili and Osihmen are expected to keep their places in the match. Although Roger Miller expects a tough tie, past results and current form favours the Super Eagles to take the day.

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