Wednesday, August 14, 2013
South Africa vs Nigeria
South Africa will need to steel themselves for a tough examination against Africa Cup of Nations champions Nigeria at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on Wednesday night.
The match, to be played in honour of the ailing 95-year-old Nelson Mandela, should serve as perfect preparation for both outfits as they ready themselves for crucial World Cup qualifiers in early September.
Nigeria returns to the country where they ended a 19-year title drought earlier this year, with a strong squad and an exceptional record against hosts South Africa.
Stephen Keshi has included the likes of Chelsea star Victor Moses and Africa Cup of Nations hero Sunday Mba in the traveling party, while Emmanuel Emenike has withdrawn from the squad following his move to Turkish club Fenerbache.
Chelsea's Kenneth Omeruo will also not take part in the match, as the defender is still recovering from a shoulder injury he picked up during the Africa Cup of Nations.
John Obi Mikel, expected to lead Nigeria against Bafana Bafana, has also pulled out of the match with the team citing an infection as the reason behind his withdrawal.
Gordon Igesund’s initial Bafana Bafana squad has been weakened due to the withdrawal of six Orlando Pirates players, who have Caf Champions League commitments this weekend. Igesund will also be without Anele Ngcongca who failed to arrive for national duty on Tuesday, with club side Genk claiming the full-back has sustained an injury.
SuperSport United defender Bevan Fransman will miss out due to personal matters, while Innocent Mdledle has been replaced by AmaZulu’s Marc van Heerden after suffering a hamstring injury.
Another injury has ruled out Bennett Chenene from participating in the match, with South Africa likely to rely on their host of in-form Kaizer Chiefs players in the squad.
Gordon Igesund has called up two uncapped players, with Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder Bongani Zungu and Free State Stars striker Luyolo Nomandela joining the squad of 22.
Tokelo Rantie joined Bafana Bafana on Tuesday, while hard-working midfielder Dean Furman completes the list of overseas-based players named in the squad.
South Africa has only defeated Nigeria once in seven attempts, with the Super Eagles winning five of the matches. There has been one draw between the two sides since they first met in 1992.
In their first meeting in 1992, Nigeria welcomed South Africa back to international football with a 4-0 thrashing in Lagos.
Bafana Bafana were able to overcome a weakened Nigerian squad 2-1 in 2004, during the Nelson Mandela Challenge.
Since regaining the Africa Cup of Nations title, Nigeria have produced mixed results, only notching up three wins in their last nine matches.
South Africa has included seven players in their squad which took part in the Cosafa Cup earlier this year.