Remembering great Nigeria v South Africa battles

Nigeria take on South Africa at about 7pm Nigerian time on Wednesday, September 10, 2014 and its time to take a look back down memory lane at some of the greatest battles between these two countries.

During the apartheid era, the South Africans basically had no link with the rest of the world but as soon as political normalcy was restored to their country they took part in the qualifiers for the USA 1994 World Cup and were drawn in the same group as Nigeria.

Blessed with an array stars, Clemens Westahof almost bungled the game on October 10, 1992 with a mistake he made in the selection of the starting eleven.

Westahof started that game with Ike Shorunmu in goal, Nduka Ugbade, Stephen Keshi, Austin Eguavoen and Ben Iroha in defense.

He picked a midfield of Emeka Ezeugo and Precious Monye while he played four center forwards in attack. A glaring error.

Victor Ikpeba, Samson Siasia, Rashidi Yekini and Richard Owubokiri were all goal poachers in their right but while Siasia and Ikpeba were more versatile and could drift to the wings, creating space in the middle, the same could not be said of Owubokiri and Yekini as they kept bumping into each other, especially in the six yard box.

After Owubokiri managed the first goal, he was taken off at half time for Taofik Malik, adding one more midfielder and freeing space in the center of attack for Rashidi Yekini to run riot.

By the time the game ended it was Nigeria 4-0 South Africa with Yekini getting a brace and Samson Siasia scoring too.

The return leg on January 16, 1993 would have also been lost by another tactical blunder by Clemens Westahof.

The South Africans took the game to the FNB (First National Bank Stadium) in Johannesburg, now known as Soccer city and the altitude was killing.

Westahof started with Alloy Agwu in goal, Rueben Agboola, Ben Iroha, Stephen KEshi and Okechukwu UChe while the midfield had just Friday Ekpo and Emeka Ezeugo.

He started Victor Ikpeba, Samson Siasia, Daniel Amokachi and Rashidi Yekini in attack.

The game ended goaless but at the start of the 2nd half, it seems most of the Nigerian team had no lungs to carry on and it took the determination of Friday Ekpo and Emeka Ezeugo to keep Nigeria in the game.

Friday Ekpo told naijafootball247.com three months ago while reviewing that game that, “I told Iron Bender (Emeka Ezeugo), let us do thing together or else we would lose and we had to keep the midfield tight and held on till the game ended.”

That was South Africa’s best chance to beat Nigeria but they failed.

AFCON 2000

The AFCON in 2000, both countries met again, and with the South Africans boasting that they could win, Bonfrere Jo put up a tactical master piece to not just confuse the Bafana Bafana but score twice without reply from the most unlikely of sources.

In attack, he started two right wingers, Finidi George and Tijani Babangida, though Babangida was deployed on the left side.

Nigeria won 2-0 (both by Tijani Babangida) and the South Africans were yet to score a goal against Nigeria.

AFCON 2004

Both countries met again at the AFCON in Tunisia and it turned out to be one of Nigeria’s easiest wins against the Bafana.

After 90 minutes in Monastir it was Nigeria 4-0 South Africa with goals from Joseph Yobo, Austin Okocha, and a brace from Osaze Odemwingie.

Nelson Mandela Challenge

South Africa’s only claim to a win against Nigeria came on November 17 2004 in a friendly match in Johannesburg that they won 2-1, Nigeria scoring though Stephen Ayodele MAkinwa.

It was a rag tag Nigerian side featuring the likes of Greg Etafia, George Abbey, Joseph Enakhirie, Efe Sodje, Taye Taiwo, Blessing Kaku, Seyi Olofinjana, Paul Obiefule, Ben Akuegbu, Stephen MAkinwa and Obafemi Martins.

2010 World Cup qualifiers

Both countries met again in the qualifiers for the 2010 FIFA World Cup and in Abuja, Nigeria won 2-0, goals from Ikechukwu Uche and Obinna Nwaneri while in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, Nigeria did the double winning 1-0 through an Ikechukwu Uche effort.

On august 14, 2013, both sides met again in an international friendly game and Nigeria triumphed 2-0 while in the Championship for African nations, CHAN, Nigeria won 3-1, with Ifeanyi Ede converting a penalty while Ejike Uzoenyi got a brace.

South Africa v Nigeria in Capetown will be another opportunity for the Super Eagles to continue their domination of the South Africans or maybe the Bafana could have a chance to get one back against Nigeria.



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