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Floored Twice in Two Months, South Africa Trembles Ahead of Treble With Nigeria

Despite being a point ahead, Bafana will fall behind if they submit to the Super Eagles’ strength, skill and savvy.

Two months after they were relegated to the third-place match of the Africa Cup of Nations by the Super Eagles of Nigeria, and two months before another crucial encounter, South Africa’s Bafana Bafana are jittery ahead of their match against three-time African champions Nigeria again, in a 2026 World Cup qualifying match in Uyo.

Just three days ago, Nigeria’s Super Falcons pushed Banyana Banyana, reigning African champions, off the bus to this year’s Women’s Olympic Football Tournament, instead grabbing the ticket to make sure of a first appearance at the glamourous tournament for the first time in 16 years.

The manner of Nigeria’s victories in the two fixtures have left the hierarchy of South African football flummoxed, with little time to recover or rejig strategies before the Bafana Bafana come up against the Super Eagles in a Day 3 encounter of the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying series at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo on Friday, 7th June.

With two points from their previous two matches, but aware of the hold they have over Bafana Bafana, the African vice champions are confident of the three points on the day, which could see them fly to the top of the pool.

It was on 7th February at the Stade de la Paix, Bouake that the Super Eagles kicked the Bafana to the third-place match of the 34th Africa Cup of Nations. Despite achieving parity late in the game, the Bafana were cut to size during the penalty shootout with Nigeria’s South Africa-based goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali saving two of the kicks by the Bafana.

South Africans’ boasts of bouncing the Super Falcons in the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament fixture in revenge, ended belly-up with the Banyana failing to score a goal in 180 minutes of action, with the two teams separated by Rasheedat Ajibade’s goal from the penalty spot in Abuja on Friday, 5th April.

Despite being a point ahead of the Super Eagles in their World Cup qualifying group, the Bafana will fall behind if they bow to the strength, skill and savvy of the Super Eagles on another Friday in June.

It can be recalled that when the two teams also met at the Africa Cup of Nations in 2019, at the quarter-final stage, Nigeria triumphed 2-1 in Cairo.

Players of the Super Eagles are already getting in the mood to deliver the big blow to Bafana in Uyo in a few weeks’ time. Only on Thursday night, top striker Victor Boniface returned from the injury that kept him out of the AFCON, by coming off the bench to score in Bayer Leverkusen’s Europa League quarter-final duel with West Ham of England.

African Player of the Year Victor Osimhen has also been unable to stop scoring for his Italian Serie A side, SC Napoli.

Goalkeeper Nwabali remains in awesome shape, and midfielder Alex Iwobi and Ademola Lookman shone brightly in the defeat of Ghana in a friendly in Morocco last month.

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