Friday, June 09, 2017

2019 AFCON Qualifiers: Indepth preview of Nigeria vs South Africa

Nigeria and South Africa will play against each other in a 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier tie in Uyo, Akwa-Ibom state, Nigeria on Saturday, 10th june. Premium Sports Center, in details portrays how the Super Eagles can claim the victory over South-Africa.

Both teams will be at locker heads when they clash in Group E Nations Cup qualifier at the Nest of champions (Godswill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo) this weekend.

The Super eagles have failed to qualify for the last two editions of the Africa Cup of Nations and will realise the value of a strong start in the preliminaries in order to reach Cameroon in 2019.

Head coach, Gernot Rohr continues to have an unbeaten start to his reign as Super Eagles boss, but while the recent 3-0 friendly victory over Togo puts Nigeria in a good spirits and high morale ahead of Saturday's showdown, the Franco -German coach will be aware that the  "Bafana Bafana" are not going to be push-overs.

For South Africa, Head coach Stuart Baxter is back to the job he held between 2004 and 2005 (South Africa won Nigeria in a friendly under him in 2004; the only victory they have over the super eagles) and he ought to have the quality as his disposal to build on former coach Shakes Mashaba's troubled reign.

Bafana Bafana denied Nigeria a place in the 2015 Afcon in Equatorial Guinea thanks to a 2-2 draw at the same Uyo venue which the super eagles are fully aware of.

But with the visitors missing several key players due to injury, the Super Eagles have the opportunity to make amends and seek redress of what happened at the previous encounter.

The urge for revenge could gear the Super Eagles on, but Rohr will seek to avoid complacency and over confidence as Baxter has already guided Bafana to a victory over Nigeria-back in November 2004-and will be looking to ride the wave of positivity following his appointment.

Looking at the quality of the two sides, Nigeria should be confident that they have the edge.

In defence, Rohr will likely stick with Kenneth Omeruo, William Troost-Ekong, Shehu Abdullah and Elderson Echiejile-all regulars under his watch.

Ahead of them, the energetic trio of Ogenyi Onazi, Oghenekaro Etebo and Wilfred Ndidi appear set to start in midfield.

They offer excellent work rate and dynamism, and will force their opposite numbers to work extra hard in order to get a grip of the match.

Etebo’s presence could be particularly crucial, with his ability to defend and link midfield to attack.

The Feirense midfielder contributed a fine assist for Kelechi Iheanacho in the 3-0 win against Togo and he’ll definitely be in the thick of things once more.

Ahmed Musa, Iheanacho and Alex Iwobi might have lack enough playing time at their respective clubs in recent months, but their performance against the Sparrow Hawks of Togo has given positivity, and reaffirmed the quality of the firepower Nigeria have at their disposal.

In midfield for South-Africa, marshals Andile Jali and Bongani Zungu will be charged with disrupting Nigeria's trio, and it will be enticing to see how Kermit Erasmus fares if given the opportunity, with the Stade Rennais attacker improving on loan at Lens towards the end of the campaign.

Nigeria vs South-Africa (HEAD-TO-HEAD)
(Nigeria) Games won: 7
(Nigeria) Games drawn: 4
(Nigeria) Games lost: 1
10 Oct 1992 Nigeria v South Africa W 4-0 FIFA World Cup
16 Jan 1993 South Africa v Nigeria D 0-0 FIFA World Cup
10 Feb 2000 Nigeria v South Africa W 2-0 Africa Cup of Nations
31 Jan 2004 Nigeria v South Africa W 4-0 Africa Cup of Nations
17 Nov 2004 South Africa v Nigeria L 2-1 International Friendly
01 Jun 2008 Nigeria v South Africa W 2-0 FIFA World Cup
06 Sep 2008 South Africa v Nigeria
W 0-1 FIFA World Cup
14 Aug 2013 South Africa v Nigeria W 0-2 International Friendly
19 Jan 2014 South Africa v Nigeria W 1-3 African Nations Championship
10 Sep 2014 South Africa v Nigeria D 0-0 Africa Cup of Nations
19 Nov 2014 Nigeria v South Africa D 2-2 Africa Cup of Nations
29 Mar 2015 South Africa v Nigeria D 1-1 International Friendly

Even considering the visitors' qualities, Nigeria are the favourites on paper, but South Africa are unbeaten in their last three games against the Super Eagles and haven't been defeated in their last seven away fixtures. How Baxter would love to kick off his reign by taking bragging rights from Bafana's continental rivals.
By Emmanuel Ndibe
Edited by Cosmos Chukwuemeka

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