On Wednesday night, South Africa meet a familiar foe in the quarter-finals of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations when they clash with Nigeria’s Super Eagles at the Cairo International Stadium.
Bafana Bafana, buoyed by their recent shock result against hosts Egypt after blowing hot and cold earlier in the competition, will be confident heading into the fixture and will be quietly optimistic that they can overcome the West Africans.
On the other hand, the Super Eagles are improving after a slow start in Egypt, and impressed when they came from 2-1 down against Cameroon to win the match 3-2 in their Round of 16 tie.
Nonetheless, the match is a reunion for two continental rivals, who have tangled regularly in recent years, and enjoyed differing fortunes. Nigeria have impressed over the last decade, winning one Nations Cup title and reaching three World Cups, while Bafana’s best days are almost two decades in the past.The pair have have met on 14 official occasions in the past, with Bafana winning two and Nigeria winning seven.SA v Nigeria recordIt’s enough to make Bafana the underdogs, although Nigeria won’t underestimate their rivals after the pair clashed in qualifying.
Bafana won the away leg in Uyo 2-0, surprising their opponents, before playing out to a 1-1 stalemate in Johannesburg.Stuart Baxter could potentially see his unbeaten record against Nigeria during his second stint with Bafana as a positive omen, even if history is not on Bafana’s side…particularly at the Afcon South Africa’s Stuart Baxter, June 2019.
There have been two previous clashes, with neither going the way of Bafana; the last meeting at the tournament was back in 2004, and it was certainly not a day to remember for the 1996 Afcon champions as they were hammered 4-0.Aside from that occasion, Bafana also locked horns with Nigeria four years prior, at the 2000 Afcon, where Nigeria walked away with a 2-0 win.
However, encouragingly for South Africa, they’re undefeated against Nigeria since 2013-their last five games in all competitions-and if they maintain the form they showed against Egypt, that run may be set to continue on Wednesday.