Hours away from a major clash of the World Cup qualifiers that will oppose the Cameroonian Indomitable Lions to the Fennecs from Algeria, the stakes are high.
In the Japoma stadium of Douala, Cameroon, anyone could feel the tension during the latest training session. Cameroon will play Algerian this Friday at 5 pm GMT during the first leg of the World Cup Qualifiers. However, football experts say Cameroonian fans are mostly waiting for the newly appointed coach to prove himself.
"I think Rigobert Song’s first match will be an important one, there will be big expectations for him beyond the qualification, Eric Diffo, sports commentator says. During this match, he will draw all of the attention. Many will come because they want to see Cameroon play, but mostly to see how the team does in the Rigobert Song Bahanack era. We will want to see what he can do andcan bring. He’s been recently appointed but we must not forget that he has already managed two national teams in Cameroon including the Indomitable Lions B-team with whom he failed miserably.”
On the Algerian side, coach Djamel Belmadi has no room for mistakes either. After Algeria was knocked out of the last AFCON at group stage, the Arab Cup champions wish to secure a victory.
"The Algerian side is coming out of failed AFCON competition, Alain Denis Ikoul, sports journalist starts. First of all they have to manage the fact that the coach is under pressure and wants to save his job. On the other hand, the team dreams of redeeming itself after their AFCON performance to get to the World Cup, so the stakes are high. Both squads will try to give their very best and play their cards right."
If Cameroon beat Algeria 2-0 at their last official game 4 years ago, it is unclear who will have the last word this time. Both teams will give their best since they both missed the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
A few hours left before this first leg of the play-off match kicks off but more than 50,000 spectators are expected in the Japoma stadium. Among them, nearly 2,000 Algerian supporters have already landed in Cqmeroon's economic capital Douala.