The victory of the Bafana Bafana of South Africa over hosts and favourites, Egypt was a direct signal of caution to others that the South Africans may have come of age.
Thembinkosi Lorch’s excellent finish inflicted the sheller on the Egyptians and sent a whole nation clutching regrets.
For Nigeria to avoid a fate similar to the Egyptians’, the Gernot Rohr-led team must be at their best, and put their struggles behind.
The Rainbow nation players have a kind of psychological edge over the Super Eagles, having stopped the Nigerians from making it to the 2017 African Cup of Nations. The team continued its excellent run against Nigeria when it defeated the Super Eagles away in Akwa Ibom in the 2019 AFCON qualifier’s first leg match before holding the West Africans down to a draw in South Africa, albeit luckily.
However, in the team’s previous 13 encounters, Nigeria has won 6 with 5 ending in stalemates while the South Africans have carried the day just twice. What’s worthy of note is the fact that Nigeria has not defeated the South Africans in the last two years.
Rohr, the Super Eagles coach is not looking down on the threat posed by the South Africans as he acknowledged they are the new favourites, having defeated a huge favourite in Egypt.
”We saw the South Africa game against Egypt and I am sure they will be full of confidence. For me when you beat the No1 favourites then you are favourites yourself. We know them well through the qualifiers, we are confident especially after our last game,” Rohr said.
“We have made mistakes in our games against Madagascar and Cameroon but that is part of the game. It’s good that our mistakes do not stem from tactical errors so we must forgive the players because we are all in it together.
“We wanted to beat Bafana Bafana in Johannesburg ( in 2018) but we had two goal incorrectly ruled out. I’m friends with Stuart Baxter but we will be on opposing ends tomorrow.”
South Africa’s Scottish tactician, Stuart Baxter on his part was modest, yet confident in his assessment of his team, despite a very popular victory over giants, Egypt.
He said; “We have had a good run recently against the Super Eagles and it is true that we achieved a good result against Egypt but we have to stay gounded.”
“We may have to try different things from what we have been doing against them in the past, but we are confident.
“Tomorrow’s game would be a new one entirely and whatever happened in the past is gone. I want to win and Gernot Rohr wants to win. Both sides would put out their strongest teams,” the Scottish gaffer concluded.
The Super Eagles must look out for South Africa’s left-footed playmaker, Percy Tau as he has proven to be the team’s lynchpin.
The social media is abuzz already about the game with Nigerians and South Africans coming at each other to create a perfect feeling for a potential cracker.
Time: 8:00p.m local time
Key Players: South Africa: Percy Tau, Thembinkosi Lorch, Bongani Zungu
Nigeria: Wilfred Ndidi, Odion Ighalo, Ahmed Musa