Super Eagles, Bafana Bafana Lock Horns In Uyo

Super Eagles, Bafana Bafana Lock Horns In Uyo

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Nigeria’s Super Eagles and their South African counterparts, Bafana Bafana will lock horns in matchday3 of the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers at Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo on Friday night.

The hosts enter this match languishing in the third spot in Group C of the 2026 FIFA World Cup African Qualifiers and must win tonight’s game to get their campaign back on track. South Africa are second in Group C standing with three points, trailing group leaders Rwanda by one point.

Determined to mark his reign on a positive note, Finidi George, in the absence of the star striker Victor Osimhen, will put his best foot forward to salvage Nigeria’s World Cup qualifying campaign by grabbing all three points at stake in this encounter at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo.

The Super Eagles know nothing but victory will assuage the feelings of football-passionate Nigerians, who are still unhappy at their sluggish start to the campaign with just two points from a possible six in their opening two games.

The absence of Victor Osimhen due to injury, and injuries to defenders William Ekong, Kenneth Omeruo, Jamilu Collins and Zaidu Sanusi means Coach Finidi George will scratch the bottom of the barrel for rearguard service against the Bafana Bafana who are still hurt for losing the 2023 AFCON semifinal to Nigeria on penatites.

It is exactly four months that these continental rivals faced off in the semi-final of the Africa Cup of Nations, and on that day, there was nothing to separate the two teams after 120 minutes, but Nigeria ultimately emerged victorious in the penalty shootout.

The Eagles went on to lose the final to the host nation Ivory Coast, which was only their second defeat in a competitive fixture since a 1-0 home loss to Guinea-Bissau back in March 2023.

George, in his competitive match in charge of Nigeria, is most likely to throw the experienced Kelechi Iheanacho and youngsters Victor Boniface and Ademola Lookman into the fore with the objective of getting the goals early enough on.

Speaking ahead of tonight’s game, Wilfred Ndidi  assured that the three-time African champions will give their very best, saying they don’t need anyone to remind them what is at stake.

“Nobody needs to tell us that we didn’t start the campaign well enough. The opportunity has arisen to take our fate in our hands and rise to strong contention in our pool. We will approach Friday’s encounter with the right mental attitude.”

Lookman, who became only the sixth man in history to score a hat-trick in a European Cup final when he led Atalanta of Italy to victory in Dublin on 22nd May, is in a great form to continue where he left off after the Africa Cup of Nations, where he netted three crucial goals to steer Nigeria to a second-place finish.

He also netted an important winner for the Eagles against Ghana in a friendly in Morocco three months ago, which helped Nigeria to a first triumph over Ghana in 18 years.

Boniface also had a marvelous season, winning the German League and Cup double with Bayer Leverkusen and reaching the Europa Cup final, where Lookman was the big obstacle.

Iheanacho, and midfield enforcer Wilfred Ndidi, are pumped up after helping their English club Leicester City back to the Premiership after one season in the Championship.

The Eagles will enter the pitch on Friday night recalling that South Africa has mostly been second best against them, and that their last encounter, in the semi-final of the AFCON in Cote d’Ivoire, ended in a penalty shootout victory for Nigeria.

 

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