Cameroon’s Christian Bassogog Prepares to Face Off with Nigeria for World Cup

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A match that will determine whether Nigeria will be making her sixth appearance at the World Cup or not will be taking place on September 1st.

The Super Eagles of Nigeria will be hosting their arch rivals, the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon in a Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.

Now Cameroon are facing make-or-break scenarios in their qualifying campaign for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™. With two draws from the opening two fixtures, they trail leaders Nigeria by four points. With only the group winners advancing to Russia 2018, the Indomitable Lions must win double-headers against the Super Eagles if they are to reignite their hopes.

One member to watch from the Camaeroon team, is Christian Bassogog –  a 21-year-old Henan Jianye attacker who is arguably the fastest player in the entire Indomitable Lions squad.

The fleet-footed predator scored a memorable goal in this year’s CAF Africa Cup of Nations semi-final against Ghana when he capitalised on his exceptional pace to surge past defenders and clip the ball past the keeper to seal a 2-0 victory. It is a feat that has repeatedly been seen this season in the Chinese Super League where Bassogog has racked up seven goals and three assists in his debut campaign.

“I am not sure just how fast I am,” the former Wilmington Hammerheads winger told FIFA.com. “I have never tested my speed by running a 100-metre sprint. But I know my pace is my top strength.”

Bassogog was a standout player throughout this year’s continental tournament, helping his country to their fifth African title and earning the tournament’s top individual award. Despite the impressive accolade, Bassogog admits the tournament was something of a learning process.

“It was a great experience for me,” he said. “It was my first major competition with the national team. In the first game against Burkina Faso, I tried to play well but I missed a glorious chance. I was glad to open my account against Ghana and help my team to the final. And we won it.”

With so much at stake, much will be expected of the in-form Bassogog. His lightning pace is, of course, something which Cameroon can count on to unlock Nigeria’s solid defence. Bassogog, though, downplays his individual impact, preferring to emphasise the team’s unified spirit.

“Nigeria are a strong team,” he said. “They have very good players and many of them are playing in Europe. But we must defeat them if we are to maintain our qualifying hopes. We should take the game to them. We need to fight to defeat them.

“Our players are young, but we are strong as a team,” he said of Cameroon’s progress under Belgian coach Hugo Broos. “He is a good coach. He knows what the players are good at so he can get the best out of us. In this team, everyone has his chance.”

Having said that, Bassogog is all too aware what responsibility he shoulders.

“These are matches I want to win,” he said. “We are not in an ideal position but these are qualifying games for the World Cup. I will do my utmost to help our team.

“When I was young, I liked watching Eto’o. I watched carefully how he went forward and how he scored. He could always score some unexpected goals in amazing fashions. For a long time, I had thought of becoming a player like him.”

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