Today, Cairo International Stadium will host two big giants in African football history as Super Eagles of Nigeria and Bafana Bafana of South Africa flexes muscles.
The clash is one of the quarter final games at the ongoing 32nd Total African Nations Cup (AFCON), holding in Egypt.
No doubt the 75, 000 capacity stadium would be filled to the brim by supporters and lovers of the game. But most likely, the host country (Egypt) would like to throw her support behind the Super Eagles, following their early exit in the tournament courtesy of South Africa.
The two countries have met 13 times cumulatively and Nigeria has won six, while South Africa got five and they drew two. This head-to-head statistics obviously favoured Nigeria, but the current ratings of Super Eagles is not quite impressive.
Super Eagles has reached semifinals six times in eight appearances, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2010 and 2013.While South Africa has reached semifinals twice in all her AFCON participation, 1996 and 1998.
In his reactions towards today’s encounter, former Green Eagles (Super Eagles) captain, Segun Odegbami, said Bafana Bafana has the capacity to stop Eagles.
He further labeled Super Eagles as underdogs against the South Africans.
“Eagles will need to be at their best to overcome South Africans, who now believed that they have mastered the act of beating Nigeria after years of futile efforts”, Odegbami said.
Super Eagles Technical Manager, Genort Rohr, has gotten a sigh of relief that most of his injured players have recovered and therefore has no fears ahead of today’s clash.
Super Eagles defender, William Troost-Ekong, has expressed optimism that they will beat their opponents.
According to him, they will approach the game like the final match of the competition, as no department of the team will slack.
“I’m aware that the game will be difficult but Super Eagles will give everything to beat South Africa,” Troost-Ekong said.
But former South Africa Star, Jethro Mohala, said his country is ready to renew their rivalry in the tournament and also believed that Bafana Bafana can upset the Eagles.
The two teams have built different confidence of themselves, especially after South Africa beat the host Nation in the presence of their home fans, while Super Eagles defeated the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon in what can be described as the most difficult game for the Nigerian side so far.
There’s no doubt, that most Nigerians have already given the game to Super Eagles, as they have prayed and decreed. But don’t also forget that in South Africa there are also pastors that are praying same prayers for victory.