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lion's den

By unknown | May 30, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

After raising the hopes of South Africans with a superb 3-0 win over Paraguay, Bafana Bafana enter the lion's den in Abuja hoping to bring Nigeria down to their knees on Sunday.

The once highly respected African soccer giants battle it out in a 2010 World Cup-Africa Cup of Nations qualifier at the local stadium, starting at 5pm SA time.

This is a game new Bafana Bafana coach Joel Santana could not have wished for, considering that South Africa are still to beat Nigeria in their own backyard.

The trip to Nigeria by Bafana Bafana this morning will bring back memories of their first encounter with the Super Eagles in 1992. In that game, the ruthless but enterprising Nigerian team boasting Rashid Yekini and Emmanuel Amunike rolled over Bafana Bafana 4-0.

That embarrassing defeat remains a record loss by Bafana, which the Nigerians repeated in Tunisia at the Afcon finals in 2004. But there is a great sense of hope in the South African camp after Bafana beat Nigeria 2-1 - their first win over the Super Eagles - in the Mandela Challenge in 2004.

Nigeria coach Shaibu Amodu also finds himself in the same boat as South Africa's "Guitar Man" as they have just been appointed to the hot seats. But the former Orlando Pirates coach has an advantage as he is returning for his fourth spell as coach of the Super Eagles.

Amodu also saw his troops in action in a competitive match when they played to a 1-1 draw against Austria on Tuesday night.

Bafana played neighbours Swaziland yesterday, but not much could be read into the training match.

With a place in the World Cup guaranteed, pressure is on Bafana Bafana to do well in these qualifiers to go to Angola for the Afcon finals.

Santana, with the assistance of Jairo Leal and Pitso Mosimane, has retained the team built by his predecessor Carlos Alberto Parreira.

Amodu has also retained the core of the team that went to Ghana, including Nkwanko Kanu, Yakubu Aiyegbenji, Joseph Yobo, Obinna Nwaneri and Uche Ikechukwu. He has also recalled Moroka Swallows goalie Greg Etafia.


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