Group B leaders South Africa are ready to do to the Olympics Eagles exactly the same treatment they handed to Ivory Coast when both sides meet on Friday, according to Cape Town midfielder Teboho Mokoena.
The Amagluglug defeated the Ivorians courtesy of a fine free kick from Mokoena, leaving them in confident mode ahead of their final U-23 AFCON Group B clash against coach Imams Amapakabo’s side at the Al Salam in Cairo, Egypt on November 15.
The Olympics Eagles will have their work cut out against a South Africa who are the only side yet to concede a goal at this tournament and are top of the group with four points.
Second-placed Nigeria need a win against David Notoane’s side to guarantee their passage to the semifinal but 22-year old Mokoena can only see Amagluglug building on their decent performances in the previous two games.
“We played really well against Ivory Coast in our previous match and Nigeria is another side that we will need to manage as well,” Bethlehem-born Mokoena said.
“We have been solid at the back in our previous two group games while pressing forward to create scoring chances of our own. The same approach will be applied in this tie, as we also want to win this game as well.
Nigeria would have to pay attention to Mokoena’s free kick abilities with South Africa’s winning strike against Ivory Coast coming off the midfielder’s shooting boots.
“Being a free-kick taker is one area I have been working really hard on to improve as a player,” Mokoena added.
“Lionel Messi is one of the guys that I look up to. He scored a free-kick a few weeks ago where instead of running towards the ball, he takes a few steps walking before pulling a strike at goal.
“I tried his technique and it has been working really well for me ever since.”
Nigeria’s Olympics Eagles are second in Group with four points and need to beat South Africa to stand a chance of making it to the next phase of the tournament.