Nigeria to up their game against Bafana

2015-03-28 00:00

NIGERIA will look to bounce back from a disappointing midweek defeat when they lock horns with a buoyant South African side in an international friendly at the Mbombela stadium tomorrow.

The Super Eagles suffered a shock 1-0 defeat to Uganda in an international friendly in Uyo on Wednesday night courtesy of an 81st minute striker from Miya Faruku, and will be looking to bounce back against Bafana Bafana.

The South African side, though, come into this game high in confidence after goals from Thulani Hlatshwayo, debutant Thabo Mnyamane and Mandla Masango handed them a 3-1 win over Swaziland at the Somhlolo Stadium in Mbabane on Wednesday evening.

Nigerian midfielder John Ogu admits his side are not on the best form at the moment, but they will be looking to prove a point against South Africa tomorrow.

“We as a team are lacking confidence and not in the right shape after we failed to qualify for the last Afcon,” said Ogu.

“We hope to redeem ourselves in South Africa after we lost to Uganda on Wednesday.”

If statistics are anything to go by, Nigeria certainly have the upper hand as they have won seven of their 11 official meetings over the years.

Bafana have a mountain to climb, having only beaten the Super Eagles once in their history while the other three matches have ended in draws.

Their last outing against each other was as recent as the November 2014 and saw the two countries play to a 2-2 draw in a second leg Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in Uyo that was preceded by a 0-0 draw in Cape Town — the result seeing Bafana through to the tournament on the away goals rule.

Speaking ahead of the game, Bafana midfielder Ayanda Patosi said he is confident his side can get one over the Super Eagles tomorrow.

“If you look closely at the matches in the 2015 qualifiers, we played very well against Nigeria,” said Patosi.

“We actually dominated in some stages and were on the brink of victory, but could not finish them off,” added the midfielder.

“We have to beat them this time because we had so many chances in our last two matches against them.

“I was in Cape Town watching the match and was very impressed by our players. This time I am part of the team and would like nothing but victory over them.”

The match kicks off at 3.30 pm tomorrow at the Mbombela Stadium.


Bafana coach Shakes Mashaba:

“There is history between the two nations and a great rivalry. In our recent matches against Nigeria we drew in both matches. In the second qualifier we came close to securing a victory. The players are hungry, but we need supporters to pack Mbombela and really make it difficult for them.”

Thulani Hlatshwayo:

“The Nigeria clash is going to be very interesting. You must remember we were the ones who denied them a chance to defend their Afcon title so they will be coming here with guns blazing and wanting to prove a point. But the good thing is that lately we enjoy playing against them, they are very arrogant and that is only because they are confident.”

Former Nigerian coach Christian Chukwu:

“South Africa deprived us of an appearance at the last Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea and have been improving in leaps and bounds while the reverse is true for the Super Eagles. I believe if we send the Samson Siasia-tutored under-23 side to South Africa we’ll get a better result.”

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