By Oyediji Oluwaseun Babatunde
When Nigeria take on South Africa in the semi-final of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Bouake, Cote D’Ivoire, it will be a repeat of previous clashes at the tournament.
With four titles shared between both sides, a place in the final against either hosts, Cote d’Ivoire, or the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is at stake.
The Super Eagles have won four of their five games at the competition against host, Cote D’Ivoire, Guinea Bissau, Cameroon, and Angola on their way to the last four.
The only game they failed to win was a 1-1 draw with Equatorial Guinea in their first game of the tournament.
For Bafana Bafana, a 2-0 loss to Mali was a bad patch of a start for the 1996 winners. This was followed by a resounding 4-0 win over Namibia before ending the group stage with a 0-0 draw against Tunisia.
The major upset of the competition saw Hugo Broos’ side beat 2022 FIFA World Cup semi-finalists, Morocco before securing a place in the semi-final with a 2-1 win on penalties over Cape Verde after a 0-0 draw in regulation time.
The semi-final game will be a repeat of of 2000 AFCON where two goals from Tijani Babangida separated both sides after 90 minutes.
The last meeting between the two sides ended 2-1 in favour of the three-time African champions when Egypt hosted the tournament in 2019.
The Super Eagles have not lost any game to Bafana Bafana in the history of the competition.
A win for South Africa will break Nigeria’s Afcon jinx over the Southern African side, while a win for Jose Peseiro’s side will continue their dominance.
Broos, who won the AFCON title in Cameroon hopes to become the second coach after Herve Renard to win the AFCON with two different teams. Renard achieved it with Zambia (2012) and Cote D’Ivoire (2015).
To achieve this, his team has to go past a sting and defensive Nigerian side that is yet to taste defeat at the tournament.
Road to the semi-finals
1-1 vs Equatorial Guinea (draw)
1-0 vs Cote D’Ivoire (win)
1-0 vs Guinea Bissau (win)
Round of 16: 2-0 vs Cameroon (win)
Quarter Final: 1-0 vs Angola (win)
0-2 vs Mali (loss)
4-0 vs Namibia (win)
0-0 vs Tunisia (draw)
Round of 16: 2-0 vs Morocco (win)
Quarter Final: 2-1 on penalties vs Cape Verde (win)