Football enthusiasts nationwide are hopeful that the Super Eagles of Nigeria will emerge victorious against South Africa’s Bafana Bafana in the semi-finals of the ongoing African Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Cote d’Ivoire.
The respondents who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria ( NAN) on Wednesday said that the Eagles can win and progress to the final.
Nigeria and South Africa will clash in the seminal of the ongoing AFCON at the Stade De Bouake, Cote d’Ivoire at 6 pm today (Wednesday).
In Jos, Jerry Udoh, a journalist and football fan, said that going head-to-head, Nigeria has the upper hand against the South Africans.
Udoh said that Nigeria played South Africa 14 times and won seven times; South Africa came out on top twice, while they shared the spoils on five occasions.
“Naturally, Nigeria has an advantage over the South Africans; the last time they met in the African Cup of Nations quarterfinal, Nigeria won 2-1.
“As a sports enthusiast and as a Nigerian fan, I expect them to win, and I believe they will win,’’ he said.
Samson Adesoji, a sports commentator, expected a difficult encounter for Nigeria on two grounds.
“He believes that Nigeria has what it takes to beat the South Africans, and that is the reason why he gave advice.
“To me, this is a done deal. If you see the boys, you will know that this is a different Nigerian team that wants to make a point.
“When you see the Eagles, you will see cohesion and commitment in the team, individual players who are ready to make the country proud,” he said.
Agabus Pwanagba, another football fan and ardent supporter of the Super Eagles foresees a fiercely contested match.
He said that the rivalry between Nigeria and South Africa had been there for a long time, but Nigeria most of the time came out on top.
Pwanagba believes that Nigeria’s performance in the tournament was better than that of South Africa, but cautions that every game needs a different approach.
According to him, the rivalry would be reignited, and it was going to be a tight game, but he expected Nigeria to overcome Bafana Bafana.
Katdapba Gobum, a veteran journalist and sports lover, sees the game as a “game of wits, but I believe Nigeria would win 2-1.
“From every indication, our boys are prepared just like the South Africans, but we are going to match their tactics by tactics and we will prevail.
“I believe this year is our year, and no one can stop us, not even South Africans.”
In Benin, Emmanuel Ajibola, Secretary of the Edo Football Association, said he was optimistic Nigeria would triumph over South Africa in the first semi-final of the tournament.
He said though the Super Eagles were underrated, their performance had shown that Nigeria had a solid team for the competition.
“The fact that they only conceded one goal so far shows that we have a team. They may not be playing to our taste, but the coach knows what he is doing.
“The coach has a pattern that he wants them to play and they are playing to instruction. As long as they did that, to God be the glory, it has been helping them.
“I am a very positive person and Nigeria is my country. To me, Nigeria will carry the day tomorrow. Nigeria will be victorious against South Africa.
“I believe Nigeria will have more goals against South Africa than ever in the tournament. We may likely have more than two goals tomorrow,” he said.
Mr Jethro Ibileke, a sports journalist and analyst said going by the antecedent, Nigeria would have a good outing against their South African counterparts.
He, however, cautioned the team against loss of concentration, urging the Nigerian boys to go for more goals in the game.
“We need to score more goals. We lost so many chances (against Angola). We need to take advantage of those chances.
“ When you miss your chances, the opponents will punish you for that. Our strikers need to be sharp, “he said.
In Enugu, Enugu State Football Association Secretary, Sunday Ugwu said that he was very confident the Eagles would win the encounter.
“As a Nigerian, I want them to win and as a fan I want them to win. I just hope they will be at their best today, ” he said.
Ugwu, however, urged the team not to underrate the Bafana Bafana of South Africa.
Emma Nweze, a Sports writer also expressed the hope that the Super Eagles will win their match against the South Africans.
“I am very confident Nigeria will carry the day with a 3-1 score line, ” he said.
Norbert Okolo said that South Africa is playing their best this time but I trust that the Eagles will emerge victorious.
“South Africa is good no doubt but if our boys play their best, they will surely win the match, ” he said.
In Kano, a football fan, Simon Okafor, advised the Eagles to maintain the tempo that gave the team victory against Angola in the quarter-finals.
He urged them to replicate the standard against Angola when they meet South Africa in their semi-final match.
Mustafa Adamu commended the team for its victory against Angola but said that a more tactical opponent would punish it, for their missed chances.
According to him, the Eagles have exhibited a good fighting spirit by beating Cote d’Ivoire, Cameroon and Angola.
Abubakar Musa, a football administrator, urged the attack to be calm and composed to enable them to utilise their chances.
“The team’s strikers are talented but they need to improve on their finishing,” he said.
Amina Yahaya, a fan of the Eagles urged Nigerians to pray for the team to ensure that they overcome the South African opposition and win the trophy.
“We should pray that the team should do well to advance to the final, of the tournament,” Yahaya said.
In Asaba, Sam Erhunmwunsee, a journalist with the FRCN, said the Eagles must show character and determination in the game against South Africa.
“I expect the Super Eagles to display a high sense of agility over their South African counterparts.
“I know the Super Eagles will make Nigerians proud with a two-zero victory over South Africa, “he said.
Uche Offor, a trader in Asaba, said the odds favour the Super Eagles to go through to the final.
“To me, South Africa does not pose any challenge to Nigeria at all, but that does not mean we should go to sleep.