Nigeria and South Africa are at each other’s jugular in what promises to be a frenetic Africa Cup of Nations quarter final attrition at the Cairo International Stadium tonight. The match kicks off at 8pm Nigeria time.
While the Super Eagles bundled out cup holders and five–time winners, Cameroon, 3-2 in the Round of 16, in Alexandria, last Saturday, the Bafana Bafana shocked host nation and seven–time champions, Egypt, 1-0 in front of 75,000 fans at the Cairo International Stadium.
Nigeria won the African title in 1980, 1994 and 2013, while South Africa won when they hosted in 1996.
Both teams were in the same qualifying pool during the campaign to reach Egypt 2019, with the Eagles finishing top of the pile, while South Africa – who stunned Nigeria 2-0, in Uyo, on the first day of the series – came second. Their second match in Joahnnesburg ended 1-1, granting Nigeria a ticket to the finals ahead of the final matchday.
The confidence, tactical discipline, savvy and ambition that South Africa showed in their defeat of Egypt was evident for the world to see, but the world also saw the competence, capacity, unyielding spirit and masterliness that the Super Eagles exhibited in ejecting the defending champions from the tournament.
South Africa has never beaten Nigeria in the Africa Cup of Nations finals, with their two previous meetings – a semi final clash in 2000, in Lagos, and group phase encounter in 2004, in Monastir – ending 2-0 and 4-0, respectively, in favour of the Super Eagles.