Bafana-Bafana, South Africa’s national football (soccer) team which presently enjoys Africa’s longest (since October 2015) and most ( 17 games with no loss) unbeaten streak will this saturday at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo Nigeria, finally meet the one team it has never defeated. Nigeria’s Super Eagles, the monkey that has been sitting on the shoulders of Bafana-Bafana forever. This is an African Nations Cup qualifier.
Bafana Bafana coach Baxter said:
“We have got to shut the crowd up in Nigeria”
That is quite a tall order considering that Nigeria have only lost one competitive fixture at home in 36 years‚ a shock 3-2 loss to Congo-Brazzaville in 2014‚ which is also their only ever home loss in the Nations Cup qualifiers since they first entered the preliminary competition in 1961. In Bafana’s current unbeaten run they have won nine matches and drawn eight. Eight of Bafana’s matches in the 17 game win streak however have been against teams from the COSAFA region‚ who they rarely lose to‚ while also included in the run are games against Gambia‚ Mauritania and Guinea-Bissau‚ matches South Africa would also expect to at least draw.
Although the Bafana Bafana have never beaten the Super Eagles in a competitive game, Nigerians would remember that a 2-2 draw at the same venue between both teams in November 2014 meant the Eagles missed the cut for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations finals.
Super Eagles squad on Saturday will include former junior international Kelechi Iheanacho, who has scored in seven of his last eight matches for the Super Eagles, as well as record scorer in the FIFA U17 World Cup, Victor Osimhen. There are also this season’s top scorer in the Austrian Bundesliga, Olanrewaju Kayode, the pacy Moses Simon and the nimble –footed Alex Iwobi.
The last outing between both teams was a friendly match at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit two years ago, which ended 1-1. Ahmed Musa scored a late goal in a game in which Daniel Akpeyi (likely to start in goal for Nigeria on Saturday) saved a penalty, but there was still time for the Bafana Bafana to draw level.