By our Reporter who is in Garoua
Hours ahead of Nigeria’s Group D opener against the Pharaohs of Egypt, many residents of Garoua have expressed their support for the Super Eagles and vowed to cheer the Nigerian national team to victory.
After a grand opening ceremony, the twice-postponed Africa Cup of Nations finally kicked off on Sunday in Yaounde. The opening match ended with the hosts, Cameroon, beating Burkina Faso 2:1 to lead Group A.
Nigeria, playing in Group D alongside Egypt, Sudan and Guinea-Bissau, will get into action Tuesday evening against the Mohamed Salah-led Egyptians. All Group D matches will be played at the Roumde Adjia Stadium in Garoua.
Thousands of Super Eagles fans have stormed the Northern Cameroon town “to offer their maximum support” for Nigeria’s national team “to emerge victorious”. While many arrived by air, fans mostly from northern Nigerian states crossed the land and water borders between Nigeria and Cameroon through Adamawa state.
Garoua, a predominantly Fulani Muslim town, is wearing a new look with all major roads and streets adorned in Cameroon flags alongside flags of other participating countries. Nigerian flags can be sighted in many different locations, including on cars and motorbikes, signalling the level of support the Super Eagles have among Cameroonians as well as Nigerians residing in the country.
Many residents interviewed by TDR throw their weight behind the Super Eagles in the promising encounter against the North African opponents “in the spirit of good neighbourliness”, they said.
“Though I like Salah (Liverpool star who is expected to lead the Egyptian onslaught against Nigeria), I will support Nigeria. When they play against Cameroon, I will support my country”, said a uniformed Cameroonian man who chose to remain anonymous. His position was echoed by Adamu (27) and Usman, a Cameroon-based Chadian.
This reporter caught up Tuesday morning with a group of vuvuzela blowing Cameroonian youths along one of the busiest roads in Garoua. “Nigeria is at home”, the over-excited youths told TDR as they chanted and waved Nigeria’s flag.
Meanwhile, the sale of tickets is ongoing at various locations in Garoua ahead of the crucial Group D tie expected to record a massive attendance.