Cape Town – Bafana Bafana have it all to play for when they meet Nigeria in their Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) quarter-final on Wednesday.
Kick-off is at 21:00 SA time.
The match will be South Africa’s 14th meeting against the Super Eagles after their readmission into the international football world in 1992.
Their first meeting was in Lagos during a 1994 Soccer World Cup qualifying fixture which the west Africans thrashed Bafana 4-0.
The return-leg at Soccer City ended goalless and it would be the last time South Africa met the Super Eagles until the millennium AFCON edition in 2000.
The two nations met in the semi-finals, but a double from Tijana Babangida ended South Africa’s hopes making it to the final.
In 2004, Nigeria put four goals past ‘keeper Emile Baron to beat Bafana Bafana 4-0 in the AFCON group stages.
It was only later that year South Africa would claim their first victory over the Super Eagles, this time in a friendly. Goals from Shaun Bartlett and Benedict Vilakazi earned Bafana a 2-1 win.
The following six matches – from 2008-2015 – would see South Africa lose three and draw three.
However, in June 2017 things took a turn for the better when Tokelo Rantie and Percy Tau gave Bafana a rare 2-0 AFCON qualifying victory at the famous Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo.
The return leg – and most recent clash between the two sides – ended in a 1-1 stalemate at the FNB Stadium in November 2018.
BAFANA BAFANA RECORD v NIGERIA (since 1992)
Image courtesy of 11v11.com
Bafana Bafana and the Super Eagles both started their 2019 AFCON campaigns slowly.
South Africa suffered two defeats in the group stages which nearly saw them packing their bags, only to sneak in to the last 16 as the last of the third-placed nations.
Surprisingly, Nigeria ended as runners-up in their group after going down to the tournament’s dark-horses, Madagascar, while only edging Burundi and Guinea, both by 1-0 margins.
But things changed in the last 16 when both Bafana Bafana and Nigeria displayed vastly improved performances against Egypt and Cameroon, respectively.
Bafana beat hosts Egypt 1-0, while Nigeria edged defending champions Cameroon 3-2.
Wednesday’s clash promises to be a humdinger with the two footballing giants finding their rhythm at the right time.