Nigeria and Bafana Bafana share spoils in the World Cup Qualifier
Image by Jane Thabantso Gallo images

In the midst of Euro 2024 and Copa America excitement, Africa’s road to the 2026 FIFA World Cup continued as Nigeria hosted South Africa at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium on Friday night. The match ended in a 1-1 draw, with Bafana Bafana securing a crucial point against the Super Eagles.

Both teams started the match with attacking intent. Nigeria took the initiative early, pushing into South Africa’s half in search of a quick goal. Meanwhile, South Africa’s attack, led by Iqraam Rayners and Elias Mokwana, posed their own threats, despite occasional offsides and wide attempts.

A notable moment came when Teboho Mokoena’s well-struck free kick from the edge of Nigeria’s box hit the crossbar.

The deadlock was broken in the 28th minute by Themba Zwane, who capitalised on a team effort that stretched Nigeria’s defence from midfield into the box. An assist from Sphephelo Sithole allowed Zwane to manoeuvre past two Nigerian defenders and fire the ball past goalkeeper Stanley Nwabili.

South Africa continued their offensive efforts, with Percy Tau and Mokwana making attempts to penetrate Nigeria’s defense. In the 40th minute, Nigeria almost equalised when Lookman’s precise cross found Onuachus head, but goalkeeper Ronwen Williams made a comfortable save. Despite three minutes of added time, South Africa maintained their lead going into halftime.

Just a minute into the second half, Nigeria equalised through Fisayo Dele-Bashiru. The Hatayspor midfielder scored his first-ever goal for the Super Eagles in style, converting a shot from Alexander Iwobi. Nigeria opened up the game and created cohesive attacks, but they were continually thwarted by AFCON Best Goalkeeper Ronwen Williams.

The match ended in a 1-1 draw, marking Nigeria’s third consecutive draw in the World Cup Qualifiers. This result now raises concerns among Nigerian fans about their team’s performance and prospects in the qualifiers thus far.

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