Nigeria’s Super Eagles quest of winning her fourth Africa Cup of Nations title will come under scrutiny as the team face Bafana Bafana of South Africa in the quarter-final at the Cairo International Stadium on Wednesday.
Both teams are no strangers to each other having met at the qualifying series, where South Africa edge Super Eagles 2-0 in Uyo before playing a stalemate in the reverse fixture in South Africa.
The Three-time Africa Champs made it through to the stage after beating reigning champions, the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon 3-2 while Bafana Bafana stunned host, Egypt 1-0, to set up this mouth-watering clash.
While the Super Eagles finished the group stage second on six points, South Africa managed to qualify as the third-best team in Group D on three points.
Statistically, Nigeria have not beaten South Africa in their last four meetings. They have drawn four and lost one in their last five meetings against South Africa.
The pair have met on 14 official occasions in the past, with Bafana winning two and Nigeria winning seven.
What are the players saying?
Super Eagles defender William Troost-Ekong told Completesports that the team should expect a tough battle against the Bafana Bafana of South Africa.
“We met South Africa in the qualifiers, they beat us at home and we played draw in their place. This time around, it will not be easier either. It will be a tough game,” Troost-Ekong told Completesports.com at the Super Eagles Helnan Palestine Hotel base in Alexandria.
“The win against Cameroon has surely lifted us up again, and I must say everyone is looking forward to the game against South Africa. It is going to be a game between two opponents who know each other very well.
“Our target is to win the game and we will push hard to beat them. They too have good confidence now after their win against Egypt which will make the game more interesting. ”
Bafana Bafana forward, Lebogang Mothiba, told kdrtv that the team would everything possible to beat Nigeria.
“In the match against Egypt, everyone gave 100 per cent effort and focus and now we need to keep that going,” Mothiba said the Safa website.
“The win over Egypt galvanised the spirits and we are all looking forward to the next game against Nigeria. We need that positive mentality. The coach has insisted that we should maintain that positive attitude.
On paper, the tie between Nigeria and South Africa should be able to produce over 1.5 or at worst Super Eagles win or draw under 4.5
Probably Line Up
Ahmed Musa (c)
Thulani Hlatshwayo (c)