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AFCON 2019


Afcon 2021 Qualifier Preview and Prediction: Ghana v South Africa


South Africa pulled off the unthinkable when they beat Egypt 1-0 in the Africa Cup of Nations last 16, setting up a quarter-final clash with familiar foes Nigeria.

While it is an understatement to say the win over the Pharaohs was improbable, Bafana Bafana stand a better chance against Nigeria. Here are five reasons why:

BET: South Africa v Nigeria

South Africa and Nigeria met twice during 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualification with Bafana Bafana winning 2-0 away and drawing 1-1 at home. Stuart Baxter’s men have already proven beyond any doubt that they are capable of standing up to the Super Eagles.

A 3-2 last 16 win over Cameroon in a topsy-turvy contest cannot mask Nigeria’s underlying problems. Gernot Rohr has been criticised for his use of John Obi Mikel in an advanced midfield role and the Super Eagles have been all over the place defensively in their last two games.

Leon Balogun deserves special mention for a spectacularly poor performance in the 2-0 group stage defeat to Madagascar.

Astonishingly, this is Nigeria’s first Africa Cup of Nations appearance since they won the 2013 title. This means that many of the key players from the squad which lifted the trophy in South Africa have come and gone.

To put this into perspective, Bafana Bafana qualified for the 2015 Afcon, exiting at the group stage.

Need I say more? Common sense prevailed and Baxter brought the Orlando Pirates winger into his lineup to face Egypt. The impact was immediate with Lorch giving Bafana Bafana a cutting edge on attack which they lacked in previous matches.

The 2018/19 Absa Premiership Player of the Season got the better of Mohamed Salah in South Africa’s last game, so with momentum behind him, don’t be too surprised if he outshines the likes of Alex Iwobi and Ahmed Musa.

Stuart Baxter may have his faults, but if there’s one thing he has proven, it’s that he knows how to set up a solid team.

His players have done the work for him throughout qualifying and the Africa Cup of Nations. In both combined, Bafana have conceded just four goals in 10 matches.

Sifiso Hlanti and Thamsanqa Mkhize were superb against a star-studded Egypt attack while Ronwen Williams and Darren Keet alike have been rock solid in goal.

2018 Afcon Qualifier: South Africa 1-1 Nigeria

2017 Afcon Qualifier: Nigeria 2-0 South Africa

2015 Friendly: South Africa 0-0 Nigeria

2014 Afcon Qualifier: Nigeria 2-2 South Africa

2014 Afcon Qualifier: South Africa 0-0 Nigeria

BET: South Africa v Nigeria

BET: Afcon 2019 Winner

Leonard Solms is a sports journalist who features regularly on various local and international platforms including ESPN, New Frame, FARPost, Tagged Online and Careers Magazine, as well as this one. He enjoys the occasional bet and the most important tip he can give you is to bet within your means.

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