Nigeria vs South Africa: 2023 Africa Cup of Nations semi-final review | Africa Cup of Nations news

from: Nigeria vs South Africa
What: 2023 Africa Cup of Nations semi-final
when: Wednesday 7 February 2024 at 17:00 GMT
where: Bouake Stadium, Ivory Coast

Nigeria have major concerns about the fitness of the African Footballer of the Year Victor Osimhen before African Nations Cup Semi-final match with South Africa on Wednesday.

The Super Eagles striker missed the team’s trip from Abidjan to Bouaké on Monday after complaining of abdominal pain.

Before that, the 25-year-old was a regular for his side in the tournament, scoring 21 goals in 32 international matches.

“Team medics have confirmed that he has been placed under close monitoring with a member of the medical team present with him in Abidjan,” Nigeria said on Tuesday on social media platform X.

“He will join the rest of the team before 5pm, if approved by tomorrow (Wednesday) morning.”

Osimhen, who was the top scorer in the Italian League last season with champions Napoli, has scored only one goal in five matches so far in the tournament.

However, his coach Jose Peseiro praised his performance and work rate as “outstanding”. Victory over Cameroon 2-0 in the round of 16.

Peseiro added that the striker’s ability off the ball is as prolific as his ability to score goals.

“No one can win a match alone, everyone has to play, but he is a good example,” the coach said.

This is Nigeria’s 16th semi-final appearance and a record 20th AFCON tournament.

Only Egypt, a seven-time champion, has played as many semi-finals although the Pharaohs have played in 26 tournaments.

Wednesday’s match against Bafana Bafana will be a repeat of the semi-final match in 2000 when Nigeria won 2-0 in Lagos.

Nigeria won the last of its three titles in 2013 while South Africa’s only victory came in 1996.

South Africa qualified for the tournament after losing the opening match to Mali 2-0 in the group stage.

Bafana Bafana finished second in its group thanks to its goalless draw with Tunisia in its last match, which eliminated the runners-up in the 2004 edition.

Favorite tournament Morocco was eliminated in the round of 16. South Africa coach Hugo Bruce acknowledged achieving another victory, Winning the quarter-final on penalties against Cape VerdeIt was his team’s worst performance in the tournament because he believes nerves got the better of the players.

Bruce himself is no stranger to success at the Africa Cup of Nations and appears to have the Midas touch in the tournament.

The former Belgium international won the continental title with Cameroon in 2017, taking a team that had little chance before the start all the way to the winners’ podium, and now, seven years later, he has guided an equally unlikely South Africa to the semi-finals.

Before the tournament, Bruce, who was handed a five-year contract in 2021, had won 11 of his 22 matches, and after initially using only under-26 players to rebuild the squad, he was forced to abandon those plans when the youth were not delivering. Good performance.

But his record in the Africa Cup of Nations is impressive even if the statistics belie some lucky periods.

His Cameroon side only reached the knockout stages in 2017 after young goalkeeper Fabrice Ondoa made a brilliant last-gasp save to deny victory to hosts Gabon after hitting the post in the last minute.

Cameroon defeated Senegal in the quarter-finals on penalties, then beat Ghana and Egypt to win the title.

With Bafana Bafana qualifying for the semi-finals, Bruce’s Africa Cup of Nations record now stands at five wins, five draws and one loss in 11 matches across the two editions.

South Africa were lucky to beat Cape Verde on Saturday when goalkeeper Ronwen Williams saved a stunning series of post-match penalties. The goalkeeper also pushed a late Blue Sharks shot onto the crossbar in the final seconds of regular time.

Many believe that the Round of 16 match between Osimhen, Cameroon and Manchester United goalkeeper Andre Onana will be one of the highlights of the tournament. But Onana sat on the bench for the second match in a row.

All of Nigeria and all neutrals around the world hope that the confrontation between Williams and Osimhen will not be dismissed due to the latter’s medical concerns.


Nigeria maintained its unbeaten record in the tournament after defeating Ivory Coast and two draws in the group stage.

Cameroon were beaten 2-0 in the round of 16 while Angola were eliminated 1-0 in the quarter-finals, meaning the Super Eagles have not conceded a goal since their tournament-opening draw with Equatorial Guinea.

Likewise, South Africa’s strength lies in its defence, and it has also not conceded a goal since its opening loss to Mali.

Winning on penalties over Cape Verde in the quarter-finals will cause a lot of fatigue for Bafana Bafana, especially after the historic victory over Morocco in the round of 16.

Nigeria: DWDWW

South Africa: DWDWW

Nigeria national team news

Osimhen’s abdominal complaint is casting a shadow over the semi-final build-up, and all eyes will be on the Super Eagles striker to see if he leaves Abidjan and when he rejoins the squad in Bouaké.

Expected eleventh: Nwabale, Ajayi, Trust Ekong, Bassey, Aina, Onyeka, Iwobi, Sanusi, Simon, Lookman, Osimhen

South African national team news

South Africa have no new injury complaints ahead of the semi-finals. Fatigue will be their biggest concern after the penalty shootout win over Cape Verde. It remains to be seen whether that will influence Broos to make any changes.

Expected eleventh: williams, mudau, kekana, color, well, prince, sithole, king, zwane, lion, skins

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