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Nigeria vs Bafana Bafana: Key Battles

Nigeria is preparing to go head-to-head with Bafana Bafana in a 2026 World Cup qualifier match on Friday night.

Bafana Bafana

Nigeria is preparing to go head-to-head with Bafana Bafana in a 2026 World Cup qualifier match on Friday night. These two African football powerhouses will be meeting for the second time in four months – having Nigeria managed to prevail on top in the African Cup of Nations (Afcon) semi-finals on penalties. The fixture has been widely dominated by Super Eagles with Bafana Bafana having only won once in 13 meetings. That lone victory was a 2-0 triumph which came 7 years ago, away from home. On the day, Percy Tau and Tokelo Rantie were on the scoresheet. Let’s take a look at key battles ahead of the encounter.

Khuliso Mudau vs Ademola Lookman

Ademola Lookman is coming from a very good season with his team Atalanta of Italy. Not only did his club secure the UEFA Europa League title but they managed to have a good run in the Serie A. The 26-year-old winger contributed with 17 goals plus 8 assists in all competitions to his club’s success. Plus, he provided a standout performance in the Europa final scoring a hat-trick against Bayer Leverkusen. On match day he is expected to give Khuliso Mudau problems on the wing. But the two have faced each other before back in Afcon with Mudau managing to silence Lookman. So, their battle will be renewed once again.

Victor Boniface vs Mothobi Mvala

With Napoli star Victor Osimhem not available for the match due to injury, Victor Boniface is expected to lead the Nigerian strike force. Despite missing some months of action due to injury, Boniface had a remarkable season with Bayer Leverkusen. He contributed with 21 goals plus 8 assists in all competitions as Leverkusen completed a domestic double. He will not have it easy though as he has to go past Mothobi Mvala if he needs to score. The 29-year-old Mamelodi Sundowns defender is the rock and the general in Bafana’s defense. He gives it all on the pitch and in the past have provided classic performances in national team colors. He must stay alert though for the whole match as Boniface has shown abilities of being a huge threat.

Percy Tau vs William Troost-Ekong

William Troost – Ekong is a solid rock defender and a great leader in the Nigerian national team. Plus, he has been a captain for years now. He is coming from a fruitful season when he won a league title with PAOK of Greece, the first in five years for the club. The lanky defender will have a task to stop Percy Tau on the day. Tau is probably the dangerous man for Bafana and is expected to shine on the day. The Al Ahly forward had a wonderful season too, helping his side to claim the CAF Champions League. Both players are carrying hopes for their nations and the one who comes on top on the day – will give his side huge hopes of winning the match. 

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