Two of the continent’s heavyweight teams go head-to-head in the first semi-final, vying for a place in Sunday’s showpiece event
Nigeria and South Africa face off in a repeat of the 2000 Africa Cup of Nations semi-final on Wednesday, with the Super Eagles looking to replicate the result which saw them reach the final.
That was Bafana Bafana’s third appearance at that stage, and it has taken them 24 years to reach this stage at Afcon.
Nigeria have won all three of the games between these sides in the competition’s history, but this one looks like being a highly competitive affair with South Africa having the potential to book their place in Sunday’s showpiece thanks to their impressive displays so far.
Game Nigeria vs South Africa
Date Wednesday, February 7
Time 6:00 pm
TV Channel, Live Stream & How To Watch
For Soccernet.ng readers in Nigeria, they can watch that showdown on SuperSports, NTA and Afro Sports.
Squads & Team News
After an abdominal discomfort scare, Nigeria dangerman Victor Osimhen has been declared fit and available for his team’s onslaught against South Africa.
This news comes as a huge boost for the West Africans as the Napoli dangerman is one of the star figures for Jose Peseiro’s men.
Nigeria squad: Olorunleke Ojo, Stanley Nwabali, Francis Uzoho, Kenneth Omeruo, William Troost-Ekong, Semi Ajayi, Chidozie Awaziem, Calvin Bassey, Bruno Onyemaechi, Bright Osayi-Samuel, Ola Aina, Zaidu Sanusi, Alhassan Yusuf, Raphael Onyedika, Joe Aribo, Frank Onyeka, Moses Simon, Ahmed Musa, Alex Iwobi, Victor Osimhen, Kelechi Iheanacho, Samuel Chukwueze, Terem Moffi, Ademola Lookman, Paul Onuachu
Thapelo Maseko will play no part when Bafana Bafana square up against Nigeria in Bouake.
The Mamelodi Sundowns star pulled his hamstring muscle in the quarter-final clash with Cape Verde.
South Africa squad: Ronwen Williams, Veli Mothwa, Ricardo Goss, Sydney Mobbie, Grant Kekana, Terence Mashego, Nkosinathi Sibisi, Aubrey Modiba, Siyanda Xulu, Mothobi Mvala, Khuliso Mudau, Teboho Mokoena Siphephelo Sithole, Jayden Adams, Thabang Monare, Thapelo Maseko, Thapelo Morena, Themba Zwane, Zakhele Lepasa, Oswin Appollis, Mihlali Mayambela, Percy Tau, Evidence Makgopa
Nigeria have looked in commanding form at times during this tournament, coming through the group stage with two wins and one goal conceded before seeing off Cameroon and Angola in the knockout phase.
Ademola Lookman has been one of the Super Eagles’ star men in Cote d’Ivoire thanks to his three-goal haul so far in five matches.
Aside from the Atalanta man, Jose Peseiro have an impressive core of experienced players in the likes of William Troost-Ekong, Alex Iwobi and Moses Simon.
“It is going to be a good game between two good teams. Myself and my teammates are ready for this challenge,” Aina told the media.
Nigeria’s squad is stacked with attacking talent but they stuttered during the group stage, settling for a 1-1 draw with Equatorial Guinea.
They stepped up in the knockout stage, coming out on top of an entertaining game to beat Cameroon 2-0 before a slim 1-0 victory over Angola in the quarter-finals.
South Africa have kept four consecutive clean sheets at the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time (W2 D2), while it’s as many as they’d recorded in their previous 21 matches in the competition combined.
Nonetheless, goalkeeper Ronwen Williams expects a tough encounter against the three-time African kings.
“The attackers and midfielders have played well but the back four has been amazing throughout the tournament,” he said.
“We know it will be a very tough game against Nigeria but we’re looking forward to it.”
South Africa have had six shots following a high turnover at Afcon 2023; only Egypt have had more (seven), while only Morocco (nine) have had more direct attacks than Bafana Bafana (eight) in the competition this year.