As the Super Eagles of Nigeria battle the Bafana Bafana of South Africa for a place in the Finals of the ongoing African Cup of Nations championship in Côte d’ Ivoire, Nigerians both at home in diaspora are jeering the National side to victory.
The Social Media has been agog as Nigeria soccer fans and enthusiasts are waiting eagerly for the much anticipated match against the former apartheid nation, with Nigerians optimistic of defeating their opponents.
Few days ago at the Grammys Award held in Los Angeles, United States of America, Nigerian artistes; David Adeleke popularly known as Davido; Burna Boy, Asake, Olamide and Ayra Stars lost the inaugural Best African Music Performance award to South African artiste, Tyla, for her viral song “Water”.
The loss has sent anger and pains to the spine of Nigerians entertainer, who are cheering the Super Eagles to victory, hoping that the Coach Jose Peseiro tutored Team will avenge Nigeria’s loss at the Grammys Award.
Popularly entertainer, Teniola Apata, popularly known as Teni Makanaki, took to her Social Media Handle to lament the loss of her colleagues at the Grammys Award, urging the Super Eagles to defeat the South Africans blue black in the AFCON Semi Finals.
Reacting in a video shared via Instagram, Teni pleaded with the Super Eagles players to avenge the Grammy loss of their compatriots by defeating South Africa in the semifinal clash in Cote D’Ivoire.
She specifically called on Victor Osimhen, Ademola Lookman and their teammates to aim for a decisive victory over the South African team.
“Grammy there’s a problem. We have many parties. You have killed our groove. South Africa, Tyla’s ‘Water.’ Alright. Osimhen, over to you. Lookman, over to you. South Africa, you will dance Amapiano after your AFCON defeat. You killed my groove. Grammy why?,” she said in a mixture of Yoruba and English.
Adeyemi Obadimu, a journalist and Anchor of Let’s Talk Sport Segment on News Extra is optimistic that the Super Eagles will defeat South Africa.
He said, “Nigeria is battle ready for any team. Our defense is compact and the players are ready for any team, and I don’t see South Africa stopping Nigeria from getting to the finals”, he said.
The Confederation of African Football, CAF, has appointed Egyptian official, Amin Mohamed Omar as referee for Today’s Africa Cup of Nations semi-final encounter between Nigeria’s Super Eagles and the Bafana Bafana of South Africa.
The match, which will commence at 5pm Cote d’Ivoire time (6pm in Nigeria), will see Omar’s compatriots Mahmoud Kamel Abouelregal and Ahmed Hossam Ibrahim playing the roles of assistant referee 1 and assistant referee 2 respectively, while Sudanese Mahmood Ali Ismail will serve as fourth official.
Attia Essa Amsaaed from Libya will be the reserve assistant referee, with Yacoub Ali Elmi from Djibouti as commissioner and Aboubacar Doumbouya from Guinea as referee assessor.
Three-time champions Nigeria and 1996 champions South Africa face off in their second-ever Africa Cup of Nations semi-final clash at the Stade de la Paix.
Their only previous meeting at the same stage, at the National Stadium in Lagos when Nigeria co-hosted the 2000 finals with Ghana, ended 2-0 in favour of Nigeria, with Tijani Babangida scoring a brace.
Today’s clash is being billed as the more potentially-explosive of the two semi-finals (hosts Cote d’Ivoire are up against Democratic Republic of Congo), given the pedigree, rivalry and ambition of the two teams.
South Africa has only beaten Nigeria twice in 14 previous meetings at full senior level, though Nigeria edged an African Nations Championship clash by beating the hosts 3-1 in Cape Town in 2014.
The Eagles are presently ranked 42nd in the world by FIFA (6th in Africa) while the Bafana Bafana are 66th in the world (12th in Africa).
Four years ago, both teams met at the quarter-final stage, with the Super Eagles edging the encounter at the Cairo International Stadium 2-1, the goals coming from Samuel Chukwueze and William Ekong. Both players are in the present squad and likely to be part of Wednesday’s battle in Bouake.