Eagle Fail to Fly over The Boys of South Africa in World Cup Qualifiers in Uyo Play 1-1 Draw

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By Eniola Olatunji 

…Ivory Coast super top Group F comfortably.

The Super Eagles of Nigeria on Friday night on their home ground at Uyo again failed to beat the Bafana Bafana (The Boys) of South Africa forcing a 1-1 draw when an outright victory was most needed to gain advantage at the Group C of the world cup qualifier.

Nigeria failed to see the desperation of the South Africans who were physical committing 11-6 fouls in the first half with 4-0 offside calls as well as made the defence their Achilles heel as Themba Zwane collected a thorough pass to beat the Nigerian defence for the first goal in the 29th minute.

Half time pep talk must have gingered the Eagles as Alex Iwobi found Hatayspors debutant, Fisayo Dele-Bashiru who equalized in just one minute of play of the second half (46th minute) in a good directional play that beat South African Goalie, William flat.

South Africa were looking for short cuts to beat Nigeria being caught offside 11-0 throughout with 16-8 fouls while Nigeria had 15-8 shots at goal making just 5 shots on target which did not cause havoc to the Boys.

The score line was the same gotten in the semifinal of the African Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast when both teams last met and that will make the South African Coach, Hugo Broos to pop up wine as he had promised to upset the Eagles at home meaning that Finidi George will need the win the next match with wide margin

Lesotho earlier in the day caught Zimbabwe with only one foot on the ground in a 2-0 victory at home in a group C encounter. Rasethunt scored the first goal in the 21st minute and Thebansto made it 2-0 at the 31st minute. Lesotho leads the group with 5 points; Rwanda is 2nd with 4 points having goals superiority over Benin Republic that is 3rd with 4 points; South Africa is 4th with 4 points also pushing Nigeria to a pathetic 5th position with 3 points and Zimbabwe has 2 points.

On Thursday, Benin Republic earned a victory over Rwanda at Abidjan (their venue) from a lone goal scored by Dodo in the 37th minute.

The rivalry between both countries is growing by the day since Nigeria bashed them in their first meeting 4-0 in 1992 at the world cup qualifier. Apart from that, I have records of 12 games played Nigeria winning 6 games, South Africa 1 game and 5 draws. Of this Nigeria won twice in world cup qualifiers; in the 7 AFCON matches played Nigeria won 2, South Africa 1 and there were 4 draws. Nigeria won the only Nations cup match between them.

Nigeria equaled the 1992 win 4-0 on 31st January 2004 in AFCON duel; South Africa’s biggest win against Nigeria was the 2-0 drubbing at Friday’s venue on 11th June 2017 also in an AFCON match. Tocelo Rantie scored 54th minute and Percy That made it 2-0 in the 81st minute.

Taking a look at their last six meetings. On 20th November 2014 they played 2-2 in AFCON match in South Africa; they also played 1-1 in South Africa on 29th March 2015 in a friendly encounter in South Africa; then came the shock treatment at Uyo where South Africa ran away with 2-0 victory before the 1-1 draw in South Africa on 17th November 2018.Nigeria won at home 2-1 in an AFCON match on 11th July 2019 before the memorable AFCON semifinals in Ivory Coast that ended 1-1 and Nwabili stopped two penalty shots for Nigeria to advance to the finals. Nwabili plays in South African league.

Nigeria ranked 30 in the world is expected to win the Friday match. The team appeared at the world cup 6 times and was always stopped in the round of 16 in 1994, 1998 and 2014. Appeared 20 times at AFCON and were champions in 1980, 1994 and 2013. Appeared at the Nations Cup 3 times and were Runners-up 2018.

South Africa ranked 59 in the world had 3 world cup appearances being stopped each time at the group stages in 1998, 2002 and 2010. Appeared 11 times at AFCON and won it only at the first time out in 1996 when Nelson Mandela was President. They had 2 appearances at Nation’s cup despite their high league organization and made quarterfinal in 2011.

Nigeria will meet Republic of Benin on Tuesday while South Africa will play neighbors Zimbabwe at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfonteiro same day.

In Group G, Mozambique on Friday beat Somalia 2-1 at home to climb to the 4th position with 6 points after Algeria also having 6 points and Guinea also 6 points it is goals that made the difference. The Ugandan Cranes however made Mozambique slide to the 4th position with a lone goal win scored by Mohammed Shaban in the 74th minute over Botswana some hours ago. Botswana is 5th in the group with 3 points and Somalia with no point is at the bottom of the group.

Ivory Coast sits comfortably over Group F as Fofana’s 36th minute goal this evening lifted her with 9 points and Gabon is 2nd with 6 points. Kenya was forced to a 1-1draw by Burundi also some hours ago so Kenya is 3rd in that group with 4 points while Burundi also with 4th is in 4th position. The Scorpions of Gambia at 5th position and Seychelles both with no point are to meet on Friday.

Angola today piped Eswatini by a lone goal scored by Mabululu in the 2nd minute to place 2nd in group D with 5 points after Libya with 7 points but Cameroon that has 4 points with Cape Verde placing 3rd and 4th respectively will meet each other today. Mauritius is 5th with 1 point and Eswatini is last with no point.

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