Friday, March 1, 2024

AFCON 2023: Points Of Interest Ahead Of Nigeria South Africa ‘Mother Of All Battles’

  • Both Nigeria and South Africa are continental economic rivals. The rivalry is now more pronounced on the football field.
  • This will be the 15thclash of both teams at Grade A level but the third in the finals of the Africa Cup of Nations having met in 2000, 2004 and 2019.
  • Both teams will field goalkeepers from the Premier Soccer League of South Africa. Rowen Williams the South African goalkeeper features for Mamelodi Sundowns while Nigeria’s Stanley Nwabali guards the goalpost for Chippa United.
  • Wednesday’s encounter marks South Africa’s 49th match in the Africa Cup of Nations since making debut on home soil in 1996.
  • Nigeria and South Africa are meeting in the Africa Cup of Nations for the fourth They first met in 2000 in Lagos and later in Monastir, Tunisia and Egypt in 2019.  Nigeria won 2-0, 4-0 and 2-1 respectively.
  • A Nigeria- South Africa encounter produced the 1,00thgoal of the Africa Cup of Nations when Austin Okocha from the penalty spot scored the second in Nigeria’s 4-0 triumph.
  • South Africa-owned MTN is one of the sponsors of the Super Eagles
  • South Africa progressively declined in performance at the Africa Cup of Nations, winning in 1996, runners-up in 1998, third-place in 2000, quarter finals in 2002, group stage in 2004 where they were ranked 11thamong 16 team; and group stage again in 2006, raking 16th among 16 teams.
  • Nigeria’s former international, Ayodele Makinwa was a scoring debutant in Nigeria’s 2-1 loss to South Africa at the 2004 Nelson Mandela Challenge match.
  • South Africa’s 2-1 win over Nigeria in 2004 was the country’s first ever. It was followed up with another 2-0 win in Uyo. The two matches made South Africa’s former Scot coach, Stuart Baxter, the only one to have led South Africa to beat Nigeria.
  • This is South Africa’s first semi-final match in 24 years.
  • Wednesday’s match will be the 15thclash of both Nigeria and South Africa. These include their clash in the 2014 Africa Cup of Nations Championship (CHAN). Nigeria won seven times as against two victories by South Africa. The remaining five were drawn.

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