The ex-Nigeria international has strong ties with South Africa and has backed the Bafana Bafana to be Nigeria’s main rival in the race for the 2026 Mundial
Former Super goalkeeper, Greg Etafia, has shared his feelings about the upcoming 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, stating that he would not be saddened if either Nigeria or South Africa secured the Group C ticket to represent Africa in the tournament, Soccernet.ng reports.
The highly-anticipated World Cup qualifying draw placed Nigeria and South Africa in Group C, alongside Zimbabwe, Benin, Rwanda, and Lesotho, sparking immense interest among football enthusiasts and neutrals.
As the favourites to win the group and qualify for the World Cup, both Nigeria and South Africa have their supporters eagerly following their progress.
However, Etafia, having spent significant portions of his life in both countries, maintains a neutral stance.
The former Super Eagles goalie was born in Auchi, Edo State, and garnered recognition during his time at NUB Kaduna, Lobi Stars, and Plateau United.
In 2003, he made a significant move to South Africa, signing with Moroka Swallows, where he spent an impressive 12 years.
Following his retirement, Etafia chose to remain in South Africa, marking his 20th year in the country.
He currently works as a goalkeeper coach at TS Galaxy, having previously served as the caretaker coach at Moroka Swallows.
Although his club career was primarily based in South Africa, Etafia’s international allegiance was with Nigeria, earning four caps for the Super Eagles.
Etafia’s dilemma regarding which country to support for the coveted World Cup ticket reflects the complex nature of his situation.
“Definitely I am Nigerian, but I have been in SA for a very long time, and SA is my home now,” Etafia explained in an interview with Sowetan Live.
He further added, “I will be happy for either Nigeria or SA if they qualify… I mean, my children are growing up here in SA, and they go to school here, so I have a soft spot for this country.”
In terms of football achievements, Nigeria boasts an impressive record, having clinched the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) title three times.
Additionally, they have participated in the World Cup on six occasions, successfully advancing past the group stage three times.
Conversely, South Africa’s AFCON triumph was a singular success story, and in their three attempts at the World Cup, they have yet to progress beyond the group stage.