–Confident Bafana ready to take on wounded Eagles
South Africa will look to rack up a second victory in Group B of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers when they host Nigeria at Cape Town Stadium on Wednesday evening.
The “new era” under coach Ephraim ‘Shakes’ Mashaba began in impressive style on Friday night, with Bafana Bafana claiming a comprehensive 3-0 away win over Sudan in their first qualifier.
However, Nigeria are likely to offer a much sterner test. Not only are they the reigning AFCON champions after winning the 2013 tournament on South African soil, but they boast an imperious record against Bafana Bafana, with seven wins and just one defeat from nine matches.
Yet Sibusiso Vilakazi, who scored twice against Sudan on Friday evening for his first national team goals, believes that South Africa can defy history and overcome the powerful West Africans.
“We know our history against Nigeria but we are determined to change all that. History is always there to be rewritten and I am confident that come Wednesday, we will put smiles on most South Africans,” Vilakazi said.
Captain and goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa believes Bafana’s high levels of confidence means they will be tough opponents for Nigeria, who surprisingly lost 3-2 at home to Congo Republic in their first qualifier.
“Yes, they say in soccer certain teams have their hoodoo side but we are ready for the Nigeria match. We are all determined to change the course of history and everyone cannot wait for Wednesday,” he said.
“The fact that they lost to Congo has not affected our preparations and determination; we are just concentrating on our task at hand and that is to beat them at Cape Town Stadium on Wednesday.”
Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi played down his side’s loss to Congo in Calabar in their opening qualifier and has called on his countrymen’s support ahead of their match against Bafana in the Mother City.
“Everybody is going to lose someday. We cannot win all the games all the time. This is where we need the media and Nigerians. They have to be behind the team, so that we can go to South Africa and win.”
Nigeria are sweating on the fitness of Godfrey Oboabona, with Azubuike Egwuekwe a likely replacement if the defender is ruled out through injury.
Shakes Mashaba’s side face Nigeria on Wednesday, September 10 at Cape Town Stadium.