Victor Osimhen of Nigeria against Thulani Hlatshwayo of South Africa during the 2019 Afcon football qualifier between Nigeria and South Africa at Godswill Akpabio International Stadium on June 10, 2017 in Uyo State, Nigeria. @Kabiru Abubakar/BackpagePix
Wednesday Nov 14, 2018. 13:31
South Africa host Nigeria in a crucial 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier at the FNB Stadium in Soweto on Saturday afternoon.
Kick-off is at 15h00 CAT.
Bafana Bafana head into the clash a point behind their Group E rivals after four rounds of fixtures, with a game away to Libya in March next year to follow this weekend's match.
Victory for South Africa will book their place at next year's showpiece in Cameroon, while a draw could be enough for both Nigeria and South Africa barring Libya fail to beat Seychelles in Victoria.
South Africa were held to a surprise goalless draw by Seychelles last time out, days after beating the Islanders 6-0 in Soweto. Bafana Bafana were also held to a stalemate by Libya having recorded a surprise 2-0 win over the Super Eagles in Uyo last year.
Goals from Tokelo Rantie and Percy Tau spearheaded South Africa to their first competitive win over Nigeria, having only beaten the West African's in a friendly match in 12 previous encounters leading up to the tie.
Both Bafana Bafana head coach Stuart Baxter and opposite number Gernot Rohr have been dealt several injury blows in build-up tot he clash with Kamohelo Mokotjo, Dean Furman, Keagan Dolly, Bongani Zungu and Bradley Grobler all ruled out due to injury.
Rohr will have to do without Francis Uzoho and star forward Odion Ighalo, who scored five goals in two matches against Libya last month. Furthermore, Wilfred Ndidi is suspended for the clash.
‘‘Everybody knows what I said in the first press conference that despite the injuries, I want to speak about the players that we do have because even though we respect Nigeria we do not fear them," said Baxter.
‘‘I think we have still 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 onto the FNB Stadium we would be confident‚ we would not be complacent‚ because Nigeria have just come from a World Cup.
"They will certainly want to wreak their revenge. So‚ we will be ready and I still believe that we have a very good chance of getting the result that we need," he concluded.