Bafana Bafana and Super Eagles on Bumpy Walk to Uyo World Cup Duel on Friday

Bafana Bafana and Super Eagles on Bumpy Walk to Uyo World Cup Duel on Friday
Bafana Bafana and Super Eagles on Bumpy Walk to Uyo World Cup Duel on Friday



Eniola Olatunji

Visiting Bayana Bayana of South Africa and the Super Eagles of Nigeria are having a bumpy walk to their Day 3 world cup qualifier scheduled for Friday at the Nest of Champions stadium, Uyo in Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria.

The South Africans had epileptic flights from their base and their flight was diverted to Port Harcourt because of delays. They arrived Port Harcourt late and cold not connect their flight to Uyo because the Uyo Airport had closed for the day so the entire team slept Port Harcourt yesterday.

The team will however train at the 30,000 capacity stadium constructed by Julius Berger at $96m for the present Senate President, Gods’will Akpabio when he was Governor of Akwa Ibom State which was named after him when the stadium was opened on 7th November 2014.

South Africa’s coach, Belgians Hugo Broos is confident that Bayana Bayana (The Boys) would win despite their Dean of Defence, Grant Kekena being down with Hamstring injury.
Newly employed Finidi George fondly called Finito by soccer lovers in Nigeria battled with having his players in camp due to nationwide strike by Nigeria’s Labor Forces; had his first assistant, Daniel Amokachi resign and some key players missing.

Nigeria’s goal talisman, Victor Osimhen is out due to injury; stand in captain William Troost-Ekong who was not invited is on protest that he is fit to finish South Africa; his Captain Ahmed Musa was not invited ditto defence ace Kenneth Omeruo and new boy on the show, Nathan Tella excused himself for family reasons. 

Nigeria’s terror squad was upgraded to include Fisayo Dele-Basiru of Hatayspors; Benjamin Tanimu from Tanzania; Rizespor Midfield dynamo Ibrahim Olawoyin with NPLF players Kenneth Igboke and Sadiq Ismael.

Finito will unleash Europa Cup Winner, Lookman Ademola who has scored four goals for the Eagles; Bayern Leverkusen’s Victor Boniface; Samuel Chukwueze; Kelechi Ihenacho, Alex Iwobi and Goalkeeper Nwabali who made South Africa weep at last AFCON saving two penalty kicks.

The Match in Uyo will kick off at 8pm Nigerian Time under the whistle of Chadian Ref , Alhadi Allaou Mahamat (38)  who also officiated at the AFCON  tournament in Ivory Coast . He will be assisted by Sudanese Mohammed Ibrahim Abdallah and Sao Tome’s Abelmiro Dos Reis Monte Negro. Ticket for the Regular stand is N1k and the VIP stand at 3K.

The rivalry between both countries is growing by the day since Nigeria bashed them in their first meeting 4-0 in 1992 at the world cup qualifier. Apart from that, I have records of 12 games played Nigeria winning 6 games, South Africa 1 game and 5 draws. Of this Nigeria won twice in world cup qualifiers; in the 7 AFCON matches played Nigeria won 2, South Africa 1 and there were 4 draws. Nigeria won the only Nations cup match between them.

Nigeria equaled the 1992 win 4-0 on 31st January 2004 in AFCON duel; South Africa’s biggest win against Nigeria was the 2-0 drubbing at Friday’s venue on 11th June 2017 also in an AFCON match. Tocelo Rantie scored 54th minute and Percy That made it 2-0 in the 81st minute.

Take a look at their last six meetings. On 20th November 2014 they played 2-2 in AFCON match in South Africa; they also played 1-1 in South Africa on 29th  March 2015 in a friendly encounter in South Africa; then came the shock treatment at Uyo where South Africa ran away with 2-0 victory before the 1-1 draw in South Africa on 17th November 2018.Nigeria won at home 2-1 in an AFCON match on 11th July 2019 before the memorable AFCON semifinals in Ivory Coast that ended 1-1 and Nwabili stopped two penalty shots for Nigeria to advance to the finals. Nwabili plays in South African league.

Nigeria ranked 30 in the world is expected to win the Friday match. The team appeared at the world cup 6 times and was always stopped in the round of 16 in 1994, 1998 and 2014. Appeared 20 times at AFCON and were champions in 1980, 1994 and 2013. Appeared at the Nations Cup 3 times and were Runners-up 2018.

South Africa ranked 59 in the world had 3 world cup appearances being stopped each time at the group stages in 1998, 2002 and 2010. Appeared 11 times at AFCON and won it only at the first time out in 1996 when Nelson Mandela was President. They had 2 appearances at Nation’s cup despite their high league organization and made quarterfinal in 2011.

Nigeria has just 2 points in the group with 1-1 against Lesotho and Zimbabwe to place 3rd after Rwanda with 4 point in 1st position and South Africa with 3 points at 2nd position having beaten Benin Republic 2-1 and lost 0-2 to Rwanda. 

Nigeria will meet Republic of Benin on Tuesday while South Africa will play neighbors Zimbabwe at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfonteiro same day.
Eniola Olatunji reporting for Patmos Media Line.

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