2023 AFCON: Nigeria v South Africa preview

2023 AFCON: Nigeria v South Africa preview
Ronwen Williams of South Africa celebrates with Hugo Broos, head coach of South Africa after the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations quarterfinal match between Cape Verde and South Africa at Charles Konan Stadium in Yamoussoukro, Cote dIvoire on 3 February 2024 ©Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

by Thando Mpembe

Tuesday Feb 06, 2024. 12:53

The first semi-final in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations sees Nigeria take on South Africa at the Stade de la Paix.

Date: Wednesday, 7 February 2024

Kick-off: 19h00 CAT

Head-to-head: The Super Eagles have been dominant in their match-ups with Bafana Bafana over the years, winning six out of the 11 encounters. The 1996 champions’ solitary win came during qualifying for the 2019 edition when they ran out 2-0 victors in Uyo. This will be the fourth meeting between the two teams at the continental showpiece, with the West Africans triumphant on all three previous occasions.

Nigeria’s last three results: Jose Peseiro’s side won their last three matches in the tournament without conceding, having beaten Guinea-Bissau 1-0 in their final Group A game and dispatching Cameroon 2-0 in the round of 16 before edging Angola 1-0 in the quarter-finals.

South Africa’s last three results: Hugo Broos’ side played out to a 0-0 draw with Tunisia in their final Group E clash before they stunned Morocco with a 2-0 victory in the last 16. They needed penalties to get past Cape Verde in the quarter-finals after the match finished goalless at the end of 120 minutes.

Team news: Victor Osimhen gave the Nigerians a scare when he left the pitch on a stretcher in stoppage time against the Black Sable Antelopes and faces a late fitness test. Thapelo Maseko will definitely miss out for South Africa after he sustained a hamstring injury against the Blue Sharks and had to be substituted in extra time.

Key player – Nigeria: Ademola Lookman is the Super Eagles’ leading goalscorer in Ivory Coast after finding the back of the net three times. Everyone expected Osimhen to take AFCON by storm, but the Atalanta winger has overshadowed his compatriot by bagging a brace against the Indomitable Lions before netting the only goal of the game to down Angola.

Key player – South Africa: Percy Tau needs to step up for Bafana Bafana after scoring just once in five appearances. The Al Ahly winger crucially missed a penalty in the 2-0 defeat to Mali, although he managed to convert one in the 4-0 thrashing of Namibia, but he’s not done enough overall as the talisman in the team.

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