17 November 2018

Nigeria/South Africa: Eagles 'Construct' Special Nest for Bafana

Photo: Daily News
A soccer ball in the net (file photo).

As they did to the star-studded Elephants of Cote d'Ivoire in the city of Rustenburg during South Africa 2013 African Nations Cup, the Super Eagles say they have constructed a special nest to cage their hosts, Bafana Bafana, this afternoon in Johannesburg.

The three-time African champions flew into the city in the early hours of yesterday with a commitment to pick all three points in today's Group E top-of-the-table African Nations Cup qualifier at the FNB Stadium.

Incidentally, the 94,000 FNB Stadium was where the Super Eagles won their last Nations Cup trophy in 2013, beating the resilient Stallions of Burkina Faso in the final.

Since then, Nigeria have not qualified for the championship on two occasions, in 2015 and 2017.

Now, the Eagles say they will bulldoze their way to Cameroun 2019 AFCON irrespective of what the South Africans will offer in today's party. They need a win against Bafana Bafana this afternoon to confirm their ticket, even with a home game left against Seychelles.

"We will not play for a draw. We won in Seychelles and against Libya in Tunisia, and we are here to win as well," stand-in Captain, Ahmed Musa stated yesterday.

Musa, who is the last Nigerian player to score against South Africa at the senior level, when both teams finished a friendly match 1-1 in Nelspruit in March 2015, told thenff.com that the Super Eagles were not thinking of simply gaining a point from the encounter.

"Our determination is to win and pick our ticket to the AFCON ahead of the final matchday next year. South Africa came to Nigeria to beat us, and we are here to return the compliment."

The chartered MAX Air plane that flew the Nigerian delegation landed at the Oliver R. Tambo International Airport around 3.30 a.m. South African time, with 23 players, team officials led by Technical Adviser, Gernot Rohr, members of the NFF Executive Committee, some members of NFF management and NFF staff and a number of media representatives.

Ahmed Musa and teammates had a feel of the turf of the FNB Stadium (nicknamed Soccer City) at 3.00 p.m. yesterday.

He admits that today's encounter would not be for the faint-hearted. Nigeria has not beaten South Africa at senior men level in the last four encounters between both nations.

A 2015 AFCON qualifier in Cape Town in September 2014 ended scoreless, before the Bafana Bafana held their ground for a 2-2 draw in Uyo two months later to deny the Eagles a place at the 2015 AFCON in Equatorial Guinea.

Both teams tied 1-1 in a friendly in Nelspruit in March 2015 before the Bafana shocked the Eagles in Uyo 2-0 on Matchday 1 of the current qualifying series.

"They are a strong team, and we will not underrate them. But we are here for the three points," Musa stated.

However, the South Africans say Nigeria will suffer another defeat this afternoon.

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