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AFCON 2023: Five South Africa players that Nigeria should be wary of



By Wale Mustapha
All is set for the first semifinal clash of the 2023 African Cup of Nationn between Nigeria and South Africa in Bouake on Wednesday.
The two teams will facing each other for the 15th time in football matches but fourth time at AFCON tournament.
The Super Eagles will be hoping to reaffirmed their supremacy over the Bafana Bafana side who have been playing second fiddle in their previous meetings.
As South Africa aiming to end their winless run against Nigeria at AFCON, picks the top five players they could cause Jose Peseiro’s side a major upset.

1. Ronwen Williams


The Mamelodi Sundowns’ shot stopper has been phenomenal for the Bafana Bafana side in Ivory Coast with his heroic goalkeeping earned them the last fout berth.
Williams has also kept four consecutive clean sheets at the tournament including his superb show in shootouts win over Cape Verde in the quarterfinal.
If Super Eagles will have to scale through the final, they will need their attack to be more accurate and decisive to be able to beat Williams.

2. Themba Zwane


Another player that could give Nigeria more worries on Wednesday is Zwane.
The Sundowns’ schemer has been South Africa’s main attacking threat despite being a midfielder. He boasts two goals and will hope to improve on his tally against Super Eagles.

3. Percy Tau


Tau has grown to become integral member of the Bafana Bafana side haven given opportunities into the team at tender age.
The Al Ahly of Egypt winger is a menace on the flank and has the qualities in his runs and deliveries which he’s used to bag two assists at the tournament.
The duo of Calvin Bassey and Sanusi Zeidu will have their hands full on Wednesday with potential threats Tau will bring to them on the left side of Eagles’ defense.

4. Teboho Mokoena


The defensive midfielder is another key player to lookout for against Nigeria.
He’s formed an important pivot for South Africa’s midfield giving needed protection for the defense and has also supported the attack when needed.
His precise passes and taking advantage of spaces ahead made him more deadly upfront than in defense. With a goal and an assist already at the tournament, Mokoena’s qualities will come in handy against Nigeria and might prove decisive on how South Africa would fare on Wednesday.

5. Evidence Makgopa


One of the three starters for South Africa national team not playing for Mamelodi Sundowns, Makgopa has established himself at the AFCON as a promising young striker.

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He may not have turn in more goals as expected, but the Orlando Pirates’ striker has being a menace for all defenders he’s faced so so far.
He can be likened to Nigeria’s Victor Osimhen with a return of a goal and assist so far at the tournament, an indication and warning for Super Eagles’ defenders to be at their best against him and keep him away from making in roads to major areas in Nigeria’s defense.

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