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Amajita up for Flying Eagles challenge

Givemore Khupe, right, of South Africa says their goal is to play in the World Cup in May. /BackpagePix / Chris Ricco
Givemore Khupe, right, of South Africa says their goal is to play in the World Cup in May. /BackpagePix / Chris Ricco

The long-standing football rivalry between SA and Nigeria takes a new turn as these nations clash in the under-20 Africa Cup of Nations at Seyni Kounche Stadium in Niger today (5.30pm SA time).

From Bafana Bafana versus the Super Eagles to Banyana Banyana and the Super Falcons, there's always been animosity between SA and Nigeria as far as the beautiful game is concerned.

At the senior level, Nigeria have proven dominant over SA on numerous occasions. The Super Falcons' penalty shootout victory over Banyana in the women's Afcon late last year is the freshest memory, confirming Nigeria's supremacy over us.

Amajita are eager to defy the odds by beating the Flying Eagles, who top Group A after beating Burundi 2-0 in their first match.

As they opened their campaign with a goalless stalemate against the hosts Niger, only a win can boost SA's chances of qualifying for the knockout phase.

"We are up for the challenge," said Amajita defender Givemore Khupe. "Nigeria are a strong team but we can beat them. Our goal is to play in the World Cup, so we must win both our remaining games [SA face Burundi in their last group clash on Friday].''

The top two finishers from both groups will represent Africa in the U20 Fifa World Cup, from May 25-June 16 this year in Poland.

SA coach Thabo Senong has vowed that they will stay true to their identity of keeping possession.

"Our strategy, firstly, is not to lose our own identity of keeping possession. We played a lot of games building up to this tournament . we've had some wins and some losses. So, we cannot start changing things when we are here in Niger,'' Senong said.

"It will depend on the mentality of our players.''

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