Bafana Bafana face old-time foes, Nigeria, in the first semifinal of the the Africa Cup of Nations, Cote d’Ivoire 2023, on Wednesday, February 7, in what will be a repeat of the 2000 semifinal that saw the Super Eagles overcome the 1996 champions 2-0 in Lagos.
In this article, CAFOnline previews the semi-final fixture between Nigeria’s Super Eagles and South Africa’s Bafana Bafana at the Stade de la Paix in Bouake.
The rivalry between the two sides will be renewed in Cote d’Ivoire as Nigeria chases their fourth title, while South Africa looks ahead to what has been an elusive second.
Following the 2000 semifinal defeat, three-times champions, the Super Eagles edged Bafana Bafana, 1996 AFCON champions, in the quarterfinals in the 2019 edition in Egypt with a narrow 2-1 win.
The two sides have met 14 times, with the Super Eagles enjoying a lion’s share of the results with 7 victories against 2 for South Africa, with the remaining 5 ending in stalemates.
This will be another entry for the rich history books of African football, with Bafana Bafana now under the guidance of two former African champions against a star-studded Super Eagles side.
The Southern African side is led by AFCON 2017-winning coach Hugo Broos, who guided the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon to victory five years ago.
“Reaching the semi-finals is great for South African football which has struggled in recent years. The semi-final will be tough against Nigeria’s great players but we have nothing to lose now. The players will recover and prepare, but staying focused is essential,” Broos stated.
The Belgian tactician is assisted by Helman Mkhalele, a key member of the 1996 golden generation that lifted South Africa’s first and only African title.
It will be an uphill battle containing an explosive Super Eagles side led by the dangerous Victor Osimhen and the red-hot Ademola Lookman.