The rivalry between Nigeria and South Africa will be rekindled in Ivory Coast as Bafana Bafana face Super Eagles in the first semi-final of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations on Wednesday at the Stade de la Paix.
The much talked about encounter could be a repeat of the 2000 semi-final that saw the Super Eagles defeat Bafana 2-0 in Lagos.
Nigeria are looking to win a fourth AFCON, while South Africa are chasing their second trophy of the tournament.
Following the 2000 semi-final defeat, the Super Eagles edged Bafana Bafana in the quarterfinals in the 2019 edition in Egypt with a narrow 2-1 win. Nigeria are undefeated so far, posting four straight victories. They have glory in their sights but there are two more rivers to cross.
The last time both sides met was in the 2019 AFCON in Egypt where the Super Eagles had a 2-1 victory.
Ahead of today’s encounter, South Africa will aim to improve on their head-to-head stats as Nigeria boasts seven wins, South Africa with just one win in 12 matches.
A meeting of two imperious defences will decide the first entrant to the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations final when South Africa and Nigeria meet on Wednesday.
The Super Eagles Nigeria are tipped as favourites heading into this clash based on their squad depth and experience.
South Africa have never beaten Nigeria at the Cup of Nations, losing 2-0 in the semis in 2000, being defeated 4-0 in 2004 and suffering elimination after a 2-1 loss at the last eight in 2019, underscoring the one-sided nature of this fixture at the continental showpiece.
Nigeria vs South Africa Head-to-Head Stats
. Nigeria have defeated South Africa in their three previous clashes at the AFCON.
. Nigeria have scored eight goals and conceded one against South Africa at the AFCON.
. South Africa have scored six goals and conceded two so far at the 2023 AFCON.
. This will be the fourth encounter between Nigeria and South Africa at the AFCON, with the Super Eagles winning the previous three by an aggregate score of 8-1.
. Nigeria and South Africa last met in the semi-finals at the 2000 AFCON, with the Super Eagles running out 2-0 winners thanks to a brace from Tijani Babangida.
. Nigeria have won their last four AFCON games without conceding; they could keep five consecutive clean sheets in the competition for the first time since March 1982 (W4 D1).
South Africa are playing in their fourth semi-final at the Africa Cup of Nations and their first since 2000.
. South Africa have kept four consecutive clean sheets at the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time (W2 D2).
. Nigeria have had just three different goal scorers (excluding own goals) at 2023 AFCON (Ademola Lookman, Victor Osimhen and William Troost-Ekong), their fewest since 2008 AFCON (two, Yakubu and John Obi Mikel).
. Osimhen has only scored one goal despite attempting the most shots (19) at the 2023 AFCON.