Eagles target AFCON dominance over Bafana

The Super Eagles will be hoping to extend their dominance over Bafana Bafana of South Africa when they clash in the quarter-finals of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Cairo on Wednesday.

The Eagles will be motivated as their opponents have never scored against them at the AFCON.

Both sides have met twice at the tournament: in 2000, which the Eagles won 2-0 and in 2004, which the Nigerians triumphed 4-0.

For the Eagles, it is also an opportunity to feature in the semi-final of the AFCON for the 14th time out of 18 appearances. This is unlike the Bafana, who have only featured in the semi-final twice, 1996 and 1998.

History also favours the Eagles, as they have never ended an AFCON without winning a medal where they eliminated the defending champions, having sent current winners Cameroon packing in the last 16 on Saturday.

While the Eagles will be banking on their experience, the South Africans will hope they can unsettle their opponents with pacy play down the flanks, which they used to great advantage in unsettling hosts Egypt in the previous round.

Speaking on the encounter, Eagles coach Gernot Rohr said, “South Africa played so well against Egypt. They know this stadium (Cairo) very well; they had success here and are a little bit at home already. We arrived from Alexandria, which is not so hot like here and it’s different. So, we have to adapt and we have only one day to adapt now but I think we will be ready.”

He also spoke of his difficulty in selecting his side, with many players back from injury.

“We had some players who were injured who didn’t have so many matches to play, who were fasting, who were sick so, the preparation wasn’t easy, it’s the first time yesterday (Monday) in the training session that we had 23 players participating. Everybody is fit now so it will be very difficult for me to pick the team,” he added.

Stiker Odion Ighalo admitted the game was going to be tough but promised the team would make Nigerians proud.

“We have spoken about the game and we will still speak about it. We know it’s going to be even more difficult than the Cameroon game. These guys are very fast, they are not as physical as Cameroon but they are very fast. They can play good football but we will talk about it and I believe the lads we have we are going to put in a good fight to make Nigerians proud.”

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