HomeFootball NewsAFCON: Nigeria vs South Africa: Preview, expected line-ups, how to watch and...

AFCON: Nigeria vs South Africa: Preview, expected line-ups, how to watch and prediction

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The State of Play

Coached by Jose Peseiro, who has rejected an offer to extend his contract as manager of Nigeria for after the tournament concludes, Nigeria went into the Africa Cup of Nations in really poor form and seemingly destined for another early exit when they were held to a 1-1 draw with Equatorial Guinea in their opener. However, The Super Eagles switched to a back-three system and have since been able to grind results out as they enter the semi-finals of this tournament.

South Africa had improved in the last couple of years but were not well fancied to do too well or go deep into the competition, especially when Bafana Bafana began the group stages with a 2-0 defeat to Mali. However, after thrashing Namibia by four goals to nil and then holding the Tunisia, they pulled off one of the biggest upsets in the competition by defeating Morocco, who reached the semi-finals of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, in the Round of 16 before then beating Cabo Verde on penalties.

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Bailey deserves new deal at Villa – Emery

Team News

As mentioned, Nigeria switched formation after their second game in the group stages and since doing so they have kept four successive clean sheets. They have a fully fit and available squad so are not expected to make any changed to their starting eleven.

South Africa may have a couple of key concerns for this one. Defender Nyiko Mobbie started the tournament but he may now return to the team after Khuliso Mudau picked up a knock. Young star Thapelo Maseko was also forced off through injury.

Expected Line-ups

Nigeria: Uzoho; Ajayi, Troost-Ekong, Bassey; Aina, Onyeka, Iwobi, Sanusi; Simon, Osimhen, Lookman

South Africa: Williams; Mudau, Kekana, Mvala, Modiba; Mokoena, Sithole; Morena, Zwane, Tau; Makgopa

What they Said

In the build up to their semi final clash, Jose Peseiro discussed how is target when he first took the job was to ensure success in this competition. “It is important to win the CAN, but first we have to beat South Africa. Everyone knows that when I signed a contract I came here to win, but we have not won anything yet. We need this game to reach the final.”

Belgian coach Hugo Broos, who is in charge of South Africa, has dismissed talk of his retirement ahead of this one. “Not at all, why should I think of that? We are not at the end.” He had said his side could reach the final if they defeated Morocco in the first knockout match and he remains ambitious.

When and How to Watch

This match will take place at Stade de la Paix at 17.00 on Wednesday February 7th. This match will take place live on Sky Sports in the UK but can also be shown on the Sky Go app.

Prediction

Despite reaching this stage of the competition having only conceded one goal and having one of the very best strikers in the world up at the other end of the pitch, something remains unconvincing about this Nigerian side. They now face a South African side that are expected to sit back, soak up pressure and take this game as deep as they possibly can. Nigeria will remain favourites to come out on top but it is expected to be a typically tense and low scoring affair.

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

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