Saturday, 10 June 2017

2019 AFCON Qualifiers: Nigeria vs South Africa Match Preview, Team News And Possible Lineups

Qualification for the 2019 Africa Cup Of Nations starts today and my focus is on the Group E match between Nigeria and South Africa.

Nigeria vs South Africa
2019 Africa Cup Of Nations - Qualifiers
Date: 10th June 2017, Saturday.
Kick off at 5:00pm Nigerian Time
Venue: Godswill Akpabio, Uyo, Nigeria.
The Super Eagles of Nigeria are set to battle South Africa in the opening game of the 2019 AFCON qualifiers in Group E.

History favours the Eagles ahead of the mouthwatering clash as they have won seven of those encounters, drawing 4, and losing 1 to Bafana Bafana.

Neither the Super Eagles nor Bafana Bafana qualified for the last AFCON in Gabon earlier this year, meaning a place in the 2019 finals is a major priority for both - at least until the 2018 World Cup qualifiers resume.

While Nigeria have had German coach Gernot Rohr in charge of their team for the better part of a year, South Africa will see this match as the start of a new era under Stuart Baxter.

The Englishman is entering his second spell in charge of Bafana Bafana and immediately faces a huge challenge in overseeing an attempted return to the AFCON.


Nigeria - Coach Gernot Rohr has called up so many players; 3 goalkeepers, 7 defenders, 6 midfielders and 7 forwarders.

The English Premier League youngsters Alex Iwobi of Arsenal and Kenechi Iheanacho of Manchester City are among the players. And little-known Maroof Youssef, who plays for Zamalek in Egypt was included. But Victor Moses and Captain John Obi Mike, China-based duo of Odion Ighalo and Brown Ideye are all missing from the squad.

Also, MFM FC strike partners, Stephen Odey and Sikiru Olatunbosun, have been overlooked as Rohr takes a gamble with a lot of fresh inclusion in his list.

South Africa -  Stuart Baxter named his squad since returning as head coach of Bafana Bafana, by recalling striker Tekelo Rantie, who scored twice against Nigeria in Uyo three years ago, also in an AFCON qualifier.

Goalkeeper Darren Keet, who plays for South African Premier Soccer League club Bidvest Wits, returns to the squad for the first time since the 2015 AFCON in Equatorial Guinea.

PSL side Mamelodi Sundowns have five representatives in the squad, while Kaizer Chiefs have four. Also, Bongani Zungu makes a return to the national team alongside Andile Jali, Keagan Dolly and Kamohelo Mokotjo.


Nigeria (3-4-3): Daniel Akpeyi;  Elderson Echiejile, Kenneth Omeruo, William Troost-Ekong; Oghenekaro Etebo, Ogenyi Onazi, Wilfred Ndidi, Mikel Agu; Moses Simon, Ahmed Musa, Alex Iwobi
Nigeria 3-4-3 football formation

South Africa (4-3-3): Itumeleng Khune; Tebogo Langerman, Ramahlwe Mphahlele, Rivaldo Coetzee, Thulani Hlatshwayo;  Keagan Dolly, Tokelo Rantie, Thamsanqa Gabuza
South Africa 4-3-3 football formation

  • Neither Nigeria nor South Africa qualified for the 2017 AFCON Tournament and it puts additional pressure on both sides to make a strong start here.
  • These sides last met in a friendly in March 2015 with South Africa and Nigeria drawing 1-1 in South Africa.
  • That was the 3rd successive draw between the sides and the last time Nigeria hosted South Africa was an AFCON qualifier in 2015 when the sides play to a 2-2 draw.
  • South Africa have only beaten Nigeria once in 12 attempts, losing 7 and drawing 4.
  • Nigeria have won 6 of their last 7 Internationals and drawn the other, their most recent match was a 3-0 away victory over Togo on the 1stJune.
  • Bafana Bafana will be making their first start under new manager Stuart Baxter and incredibly they haven’t tasted defeat since October 2015.  Bafana’s most recent match was a 0-0 home draw with Angola back in March.

Nigeria 2-1 South Africa - The game will end in 2.5 goals and both teams will score as the home team emerge winners. Don't forget that Nigeria team is far improved from the one which missed out on the 2015 and 2017 finals. They have a superior head to head record and despite Bafana Bafana of South Africa trying to tighten up their squad,  I think the Super Eagles will soar with pride at the end of the game.

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