Naturally, you’d expect this to be an epic battle considering the pedigree of both countries on the continent but while Algeria are on the rise, Cameroon appears to have declined considerably from their exploits in the ‘80’s, 90’s and early 2000’s.
Although, it must be said that the Indomitable Lions appear to be returning to their stride even though the progress hasn’t been as rapid as their initial decline.
The Desert Foxes on the other hand, suffered a decline in the 90’s and early 2000’s, a distance to the force they were in the 80’s, but have now regained some dominance and while that dominance hasn’t yet translated in Africa Cup of Nations wins, they have arguably been the best footballing side on the continent for the better part of the last two years. Their exploits at the last World Cup cannot be forgotten so soon.
And it is the race to be at the World Cup that has seen them pitched against Cameroon, as well as Zambia and Nigeria and the race begins today!
The Algerians have shown they aren’t playing with their chances, with the manner they dispatched Tanzania 9-2 on aggregate in the preliminary round. Cameroon on the hand, saw off Niger with a comfortable 3-0 aggregate win after being held 0-0 in the first leg.
And as is evident from their games in the preliminary round, it is the Desert Foxes who come into this game looking the better side. They go into today’s clash with the Indomitable Lions having not lost in their last seven matches in all competitions/qualifiers/friendlies. The last time they lost was exactly a year ago today – a 2-1 loss to Guinea.
In the last seven matches in which they haven’t lost, they won five of those and drew the other two.
To make it worse, Cameroon have a poor record against the Algerians, as they have lost five of the last seven meetings between both countries, winning just one and drawing the other. They however have a better record in their last five games in all competitions/qualifiers/friendlies, winning three, drawing one and losing the other.
Depending on the scoreling and the outcome of the Zambia v Nigeria match, the winner of this game could be top of the group at the end of round one of matches and given that only the best team will progress to the World Cup, that might be all the motivation any of the teams will need.