With a nervy come-from-behind victory over Cameroon behind them, the Super Eagles of Nigeria will need to overcome South Africa at the quarterfinal stage of the 2019 AFCON currently holding in Egypt.
Gernot Rohr’s men were close to a second-round elimination at the hands of their next-door neighbours as they went into the interval 2-1 down with goals from Bahoken and Clinton Njie pegging back the Nigerians after Odion Ighalo had given the West Africans the lead. But a second-half renaissance spearheaded by Alex Iwobi and Ighalo gave Nigeria a 3-2 win at the end of 90mins.
The South Africans are also fresh from an inspiring victory of their own, Stuart Baxter’s men rose against all odds to overcome Egypt with a lone goal scored by Thembinkosi Lorch at the dying minutes of their second-round tie, this will make Wednesday’s quarterfinal clash a tricky one to predict.
Mr Rohr’s formation and starting line-up (bar the game against Madagascar) has been effective and has brought about the desired result so there is little or nothing needed to be changed as far as tactics are concerned. But the words and plans of the manager might not be enough for the team claim victory, the players will need to weight in with improved performances for any progress to be made.
First of all, Odion Ighalo needs to be reminded that the responsibility of getting the goals majorly rests on his broad shoulders while Ahmed Musa has got to rekindle his Russia 2018 form in order for him to be of any help to the team.
The midfield duo of Wilfried Ndidi and Oghenekaro Etebo have been superb since the start of the tournament but Alex Iwobi will need to up his game in the attacking midfield role.
Another partnership that started off well is the centre-back pairing of William Troost-Ekong and Kenneth Omeruo. The latter broke into the squad at the start of the tournament disrupting the once formidable ‘Oyinbo Wall’ but a shaky defensive performance by the aforementioned two almost cost Nigeria a quarterfinal berth with fullbacks Ola Aina and Awaziem also partly at fault for the two goals scored by the Indomitable Lions.
The defence will have to be on its toes as South Africa are more deadly than they seem. In Thembikosi Lorch and Percy Tau, the Bafana Bafana have two dangerous wingers who can cause a lot of problems for any defence so the Nigerians will have to be wary of these two.
The Super Eagles of Nigeria will be looking to win their second Nations Cup since they last won it in 2013 while the Bafana Bafana of South Africa last lifted the title in 1996.
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