Nigeria’s defender William Troost-Ekong said the shock 2-0 group stage defeat by Madagascar was providing extra motivation for the team ahead of Saturday’s clash with defending Africa Cup of Nations champions Cameroon.
The Super Eagles won their first two games in Alexandria but were surprisingly pipped to top spot in Group B by newcomers Madagascar after an underwhelming display in their final match.
“Everyone was upset about the last game against Madagascar so I think everyone has that extra motivation. It’s do or die because we know we have to do everything to stay in the tournament,” Troost-Ekong told reporters on Friday ahead of the last-16 tie.
“It’s going to be a tough game against Cameroon. We faced them in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers and they might be out for revenge so we have to be ready for them.”
The Udinese centre-back started the opening 1-0 victory over Burundi and was recalled for the Madagascar game, having sat out the 1-0 win over Guinea that secured qualification for the knockout phase.
“We’ve been in this situation before when we’ve lost games when we might have been favourites beforehand. The same thing happened at home versus South Africa at the start of qualifying. Games like that happen,” said Troost-Ekong.
“I think everyone now has woken up from that game. I don’t think anyone was satisfied from that performance. So we have to be very driven to show Nigeria and Africa that we feel otherwise. If you need motivation for this game you’re probably not in the right mindset. We’re going to be very eager to prove a point.”