Preview: Bafana Bafana vs Nigeria

You are currently viewing Preview: Bafana Bafana vs Nigeria
Bafana Bafana vs Nigeria
  • Post published:November 16, 2018

Bafana Bafana will take on Nigeria at the FNB Stadium on Saturday with qualification for next year’s Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon on the line, writes DEAN WORKMAN.

Stuart Baxter’s team got their qualification campaign off to the perfect start with a historic 2-0 win against Nigeria in Uyo.

Bafana, however, followed that result up with a disappointing 0-0 draw with Libya at the Moses Mabhida Stadium. They then produced a magnificent display as they thrashed Seychelles 6-0 at the FNB Stadium, a result that saw them move within one win of qualification, but then played out to another goalless draw, this time against the Islanders.

This has left Bafana second in Group E on eight points, just one point behind Saturday’s opponents and anything other than three points would leave them needing to travel and get at least a point against Libya.

Gernot Rohr’s team bounced back from the opening-game defeat with a 3-0 away win against Seychelles, before beating Libya twice in a row, 2-0 in Nigeria and 3-2 at the Stade Taïeb Mhiri in Tunisia, Libya’s temporary home.

The Super Eagles also just need one win to secure qualification and have a favourable home game against minnows Seychelles in their final group game.

Baxter has had a number of injury blows in the buildup to the clash with no less than five players unavailable for selection. This, however, has not deterred the former Kaizer Chiefs coach.

‘Everybody knows the list of injuries that we have had. Everybody knows what I said at the first media conference … despite that [the injuries], I want to speak about the players that we do have because even though we respect Nigeria, we do not fear them.

‘We still have enough talent‚ enough desire, and if we can structure a game plan in the next three or four days‚ I think by the time we run out into the FNB Stadium, we would be confident. We would not be complacent‚ because Nigeria have just come from a World Cup,’ said Baxter in a press conference on Monday.

Rohr, on the other hand, almost has a full-strength squad to choose from with only goalkeeper Francis Uzoho and top goal-scorer Odion Ighalo unavailable.

The German coach has only one thing on his mind ahead of kick-off, ‘Our mission in Johannesburg is simple: qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations. We are not thinking of anything else. We want the ticket in our pocket before the final match-day,’ Rohr told the Nigerian FA’s official website.

The South African national side have only beaten Nigeria twice in history. The Super Eagles have won seven times, while the two sides have also played out to four draws.

With revenge on the mind of the Nigerian players and qualification for Afcon 2019 up for grabs, Baxter’s men will have a chance to prove themselves against one of Africa’s best at 3pm at the FNB Stadium on Saturday.

Photo: Kabiru Abubakar/BackpagePix