Nigeria vs Bafana Bafana: 4 things Nigeria must do to win

Nigeria vs Bafana Bafana: 4 things Nigeria must do to win
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The semi-finals of AFCON 2023 feature the Super Eagles of Nigeria vs Bafana Bafana in a rivalry that has festered for so long.

In a tournament that has seen several upsets, the Nigeria vs Bafana Bafana tie is one that the more illustrious and successful Super Eagles would want to avoid defeat.

The Nigerian side boasts several stars and came into the tournament with the mantra, let's do it again and can see their dreams coming to reality.

Two games and two wins separate Nigeria from their fourth AFCON title, and they know this is not the time to drop their guard.

So, as Nigeria vs Bafana Bafana kicks off on Wednesday, here are four things that Nigeria must do to win.

Nigeria vs Bafana Bafana: What the Super Eagles must do to win

Stay Focused for 90 minutes

Nigeria vs Bafana Bafana: Ekong marshalling the defence
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Like South Africa, the Super Eagles have kept a clean sheet in four consecutive matches. While Nigeria has conceded only one goal, Bafana Bafana has conceded two in a 2-0 loss to Mali.

The Super Eagles have not lost any game with only a draw to their resume.

One characteristic that has featured almost consistently with the Super Eagles is the occasional loss of concentration.

It led to Equatorial Guinea's goal against the Super Eagles in their opening game, and twice against Angola, it reared its ugly head.

The Super Eagles must maintain 150% concentration for the game's duration.

A goal could be the difference between a win and a loss.

Match and surpass Bafana Bafana for effort

There is a saying in football that no matter how talented a team is if it does not match the effort of its opponent, it is likely to lose.

Cape Verde made Bafana Bafana look ordinary in their quarter-final tie. They were less talented and technical than the South African side, but their effort negated what Bafana Bafana had to offer.

In the Nigeria vs Bafana Bafana tie, the Super Eagles must forget about how talented they are and match the South African side for effort.

The side has accomplished players with the necessary firepower to unlock the South African defence.

Be clinical in front of goal

Nigeria vs Bafana Bafana: Osimhen has to be clinical if he plays
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When the Nigeria vs Bafana Bafana match kicks off, the Super Eagles must understand that they cannot afford profligacy in front of the goal.

The Super Eagles have created the most big chances in the tournament and have wasted the most opportunities.

They have scored six goals, same as Bafana Bafana, but could have scored more.

South Africa has scored six goals in the tournament, but they have come in two of their six matches, while Nigeria has scored in every match they have played.

Nigeria can score many goals, but they have to be calm and clinical in front of goal.

NEVER, EVER let the game go into penalties

Nigeria vs Bafana Bafana: Nwabali - last line of defence
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Another thing the Super Eagles must do is continue in their form of finishing every game in 90 minutes.

Bafana Bafana has played a penalty shootout in which they won, with Ronwen Williams saving four penalties, a feat never been done at AFCON.

The victory over Cape Verde is a psychological boost for South Africa and would leave doubts in the minds of the Nigerians.

In whatever they do, they must NEVER, EVER let the game go to extra time and penalties. They must find a way to finish the game in 90 minutes.

The die is cast and the Super Eagles now know what they must do when they play Bafana Bafana.

This article was most recently revised and updated 2 weeks ago

Chooka Izuegbuna is a Sports Journalist with 20 years of experience in print, TV and Radio. He has worked with some of the top media houses in Nigeria, including NTA Network, Channels TV, TVC, Silverbird TV and MITV. Chooka broke his sports reporting teeth with The Game Football Weekly in 2003 as a cartoonist and reporter.