Had it been a VAR era, the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon wouldn’t have defeated the Super Eagles of Nigeria twice in the Maroc 88 AFCON and Nigeria/Ghana 2000 finals to become African champions.
Cameroon had won in a controversial manner on these two occasions. In 1988 final, Nigeria scored through a header from Henry Nwosu but the goal was disallowed.
A penalty from Emmanuel Kunde gave the Central Africa its second AFCON. It was a sombre period for Nigerians many of who thought that the Super Eagles were robbed of a goal and perhaps a victory.
With Video Assistant Referee, VAR and the absence of the then CAF president, Issa Hayatou, whom himself is a Cameroonian, Nwosu’s goal would have stayed and perhaps Cameroon wouldn’t have beaten Nigeria.
In 2000, Victor Ikpeba’s penalty shot was not recorded by the referee even though the ball crossed the line as vividly shown in the slow-motion . But then, there was no VAR to turn things around.
Twice, the politics of Hayatou had sat on Nigeria’s goals while Cameroon ran away with the cup.
However, the Indomitable Lions suffered defeats against the Super Eagles in Senegal 92, Tunisia 2004 and Egypt 2019 on their ways to the final, these defeats were not enough to erase the sins of the Lions against the Eagles.
Three of the Cameroon’s AFCON glories had come at the expense of Nigeria in 1984, 1988 and 2000 out of which two of it were questionable.
In their AFCON meetings the two countries had met seven times with Nigeria winning three and Cameroon also winning three and one draw.
However, Cameroon’s victories are more significant in that they happened at the finals.
Today’s match between Cameroon and Nigeria is going to be a repeat of the previous ones when the Super Eagles had had upper hands but it will not erase the sins of the Indomitable Lions against the Super Eagles.
Nigeria are the more quality side in today’s match and if the attackers will convert chances that will be created, I see Cameroon going back to Yaounde on Sunday.
But then, it won’t erase the sins.
Wishing Super Eagles good luck.
By Kunle Awosiyan