ALEXANDRIA – Super Eagles defender William Troost-Ekong says the loss against Madagascar has given Nigeria “that extra motivation” to beat defending champions Cameroon in their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations round of 16 tie tomorrow.
That loss ensured the Eagles ended the group stage on a sour note but Troost-Ekong who played in the 2-0 loss to Madagascar, says the Round of 16 marks the start of “the real tournament” and expects a “do or die” encounter against a Cameroon side he believes will be out to avenge their 4-0 loss to Nigeria in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers.
“Now we are starting the real tournament,” Troost-Ekong said at the pre-match press conference today.
“We did well to qualify and of course, everyone was upset about the last game against Madagascar so everyone has that extra motivation. It’s a do or die because we know we have to give everything if we want to stay in the tournament and progress so it’s going to be a big game against Cameroon.
“We’ve faced them before in the World Cup qualifiers, so, we know what they can do but they’re also going to have maybe a feeling of revenge from that time so we have to be ready for them.”
The Udinese defender said he expects no repeat of the apparent lack of motivation shown against Madagascar and expects his teammates to find sufficient motivation from the high stakes at play on Saturday.
The 25-year-old drew parallels with the response shown by Nigeria after the lost their opening game of the AFCON qualifiers at home to Cameroon to illustrate the capacity of the team to bounce back from the unusual loss to Madagascar.
“We’ve been in this situation before, where we’ve got games where we have been the favourites beforehand, like it happened to us when we played against South Africa at home at the start of our AFCON qualifiers and afterwards I think we’ve shown a reaction as a team.
“I’ve also been through situations like this in my club and I’m sure I’ll go through them again. I think everyone now has woke up from that game and I don’t think anyone was satisfied with their performance; if anything we have been very driven.
“I don’t think there’s going to be a question of motivation for this kind of game if you need any motivation for this kind of game, then I think you’re probably not in the right mindset we are going to be very driven and very eager to prove a point.”