Nigeria’s
captain, Ogenyi Onazi says confidence is high within the rannks as
the Super Eagles get ready to play South Africa’s Bafana Bafana on
Saturday in a crucial AFCON Qualifier.

The
Eagles kick started their training regime on Tuesday with 21 out of
24 invited players part of the session and Onazi said thereafter that
they will be ready.

It
is a big game, and we are one for the big occasion,” Onazi said.
I
have confidence in the group that we have now and the ambition oozing
in the camp. We want to go to the World Cup and the Africa Cup of
Nations. Starting well on Saturday will be key to our aspiration.”

Nigeria
has never lost a competitive match to South Africa at senior level,
and the Super Eagles are confident that record will not only be
sustained, but a convincing win by Nigeria awaits in Saturday’s
Africa Cup of Nations qualifier at the Godswill Akpabio International
Stadium in Uyo.

On
Monday, 21 of the 24 invited players, alongside technical crew and
backroom staff, arrived at their familiar Le Meridien Hotel and Golf
Resort, Uyo and training sessions began in earnest on Tuesday ahead
of the encounter.

Although
the Bafana Bafana have never beaten the Super Eagles in a competitive
game, Nigerians would remember that a 2-2 draw at the same venue
between both teams in November 2014 meant the Eagles missed the cut
for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations finals.

Tokelo
Rantie scored both goals, before left –sided midfielder Sone Aluko
also replied with a brace – something that is a usual occurrence in
matches between both nations.

Before
Rantie and Aluko, Rashidi Yekini (of blessed memory), pacy wingers
Tijani Babangida and Osaze Odemwingie and forwards Uche Nwofor and
Ejike Uzoenyi had bagged braces in matches between both nations at
senior level.

Winger
Ahmed Musa, who netted a brace in a 3-0 defeat of Togo in a friendly
in Paris on Thursday, alongside defender Kenneth Omeruo and newly
–wed wing back Elderson Echiejile were the only squad members given
until Tuesday to arrive camp.

Nigeria’s
army on Saturday will include former junior international Kelechi
Iheanacho, who has scored in seven of his last eight matches for the
Super Eagles, as well as record scorer in the FIFA U17 World Cup,
Victor Osimhen. There are also this season’s top scorer in the
Austrian Bundesliga, Olanrewaju Kayode, the pacy Moses Simon and the
nimble –footed Alex Iwobi.

The
last outing between both teams was a friendly match at the Mbombela
Stadium in Nelspruit two years ago, which ended 1-1. Ahmed Musa
scored a late goal in a game in which Daniel Akpeyi (likely to start
in goal for Nigeria on Saturday) saved a penalty, but there was still
time for the Bafana Bafana to draw level.

Eagles
for Battle

Daniel
Akpeyi
Ikechukwu
Ezenwa
Dele
Alampasu
Kenneth
Omeruo
William
Ekong
Abdullahi
Shehu
Tyronne
Ebuehi
Elderson
Echiejile
Chidozie
Awaziem
Maroof
Youssef
Ogenyi
Onazi
Wilfred
Ndidi
Oghenekaro
Etebo
John
Ogu
Uche
Agbo
Mikel
Agu
Alhassan
Ibrahim
Ahmed
Musa
Kelechi
Iheanacho
Moses
Simon
Alex
Iwobi
Henry
Onyekuru
Victor
Osimhen
Olanrewaju
Kayode
NIGERIA
& SOUTH AFRICA AT SENIOR LEVEL
10
Oct 1992: Nigeria 4 South Africa 0 – Lagos (World Cup Qualifier)
16
Jan 1993: South Africa 0 Nigeria 0 – Jo’burg (World Cup
Qualifier)
10
Feb 2000: Nigeria 2 South Africa 0 – Lagos (Afcon semi final)
31
Jan 2004: South Africa 0 Nigeria 4 – Monastir (Afcon group stage)
17
Nov 2004: South Africa 2 Nigeria 1 – Jo’burg (Mandela Challenge)
1
June 2008: Nigeria 2 South Africa 0 – Abuja (World Cup Qualifier)
6
Sep 2008: South Africa 0 Nigeria 1 – Port Elizabeth (World Cup
Qual.)
11
Aug 2013: South Africa 0 Nigeria 2 – Durban (Mandela Challenge)
19
Jan 2014: South Africa 1 Nigeria 3 – Cape Town (CHAN group stage)
10
Sept 2014: South Africa 0 Nigeria 0 – Cape Town (Afcon Qualifier)
19
Nov 2014: Nigeria 2 South Africa 2 – Uyo (Afcon Qualifier)

29
Mar 2015: South Africa 1 Nigeria 1 – Nelspruit (Friendly)

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