Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr was pleased to see his team redeem themselves against Cameroon after their disappointing loss to Madagascar in their final group game.
Nigeria survived a scare against the Indomitable Lions in their round of 16 matchup, coming from a 2-1 deficit in the first half to win the game 3-2.
A match which Rohr believes the ‘lesson of humility’ which the players learned from the Madagascar game was duly applied.
Stephane Bahoken and Clinton N'jie had canceled out Odion Ighalo's opener but a Spirited Nigerian side scored twice in the second half through Ighalo and Alex Iwobi to nock victory.
Speaking after the remarkable victory for his side, Rohr said his team was desperate to make amends for their poor performance in the game against Madagascar.
“I know my team and I know that since last Sunday they want to really do well and win for all the players who made some mistakes,” Rohr said in a post-match interview.
The game we never had to lose against Madagascar, but it was a lesson of humility and also the motivation to do really well [against Cameroon].
“We wanted to finish first in the group but we could not. The most important for us was to win this match of the last 16. It happened when I was in Gabon, we won the three matches as host country and we lost in the quarterfinals after 120 minutes via penalties. So sometimes it’s better to have one loss in the group stage and then win in the knockout games.
The 66-year-old manager was criticized heavily by many, with speculations over his future popping up once more following an uninspiring group stage showings.
He, however, stated that his players showed signs of belief in a comeback during the half-time break.
“I have a team with good spirit and good solidarity. Even in half-time when the moment was difficult, I saw that we could still believe in it. Because in the first half, we were the better team, but we conceded those two goals in the end of the first-half and so we had to be very strong mentally to come back in the match.
“The beginning of the second half was not so easy, but then, we came back. And I think physical fitness helped us also.
“We had two days more to prepare for the match. We could stay in Alexandria in this nice place, with a good climate not so hot like Cairo, and this could help us also,” Rohr stated.
“But I must say that my young team have this desire to win even if it’s difficult. Cameroon didn’t concede any goal in the three matches with a big goalkeeper playing in the Champions League. The challenge was to score a goal, but to score three goals was wonderful.”
Nigeria will face South Africa on Wednesday in the quarterfinals as they continue to chase their 4th continental title.
The Super Eagles would have to be on their best game against the Bafana Bafana who've so far shown that they can stand tall against the big boys having eliminated hosts, Egypt.