The Super Eagles will on Wednesday night at the Cairo International Stadium look to maneuver past the challenge of the Bafana Bafana and pick one of the four spots available in the semifinal of the Africa Cup of Nations.
South Africa struggled and wobbled through the group stages losing twice and winning just once. In past Afcons, Stuart Baxter’s men would be back in Johannesburg already. But thanks to the expanded format of the continental competition, the one-time Afcon winner only qualified as one of the four third-placed teams.
The team is brimming with confidence after out-witting and out-thinking Egypt to kick out the hosts from their own championships.
On Wednesday night the South Africans face a team they have never defeated at the African Cup of Nations.
Their records against the Super Eagles his woeful: two games played. Two games lost. Six goals conceded. No goal scored.
This Nigerian team is solid and hungry. Against the Indomitable Lions, they showed that the group stage loss to Madagascar was a blip. Cameroon had not conceded a single goal heading into the Round of 16. But Gernot Rohr’s men blasted three goals past arguably Africa’s finest goaltender at the moment and sent back home to Yaoundé the five-time champions.
The three goals that Clarence Seedorf’s side shipped in that five-goal thriller were as many as his team had conceded in their previous nine matches.
That Super Eagles forward line is smoking hot when unleashed. Bafana is warned.
South Africa should be worried that the long night is about to descend upon them on Wednesday.
Nigeria is on a high while their opponents in the Afcon quarterfinal are still groping in the dark.
In the last decade, Nigeria has won one African Cup of Nations title and appeared at the FIFA World Cup three times. Not so good for South Africa who has only managed one World Cup appearance as hosts within the same time frame.
In fourteen official meetings between the Super Eagles and ”the boys”, Nigeria has recorded 7 victories while their rivals have claimed two unspectacular wins.
All things being equal, come the end of regulation time, Nigerian fans should be celebrating and jubilating.