Nigeria vs South Africa: 3 key battles to watch out for | AFCON 2023

Nigeria will take on South Africa in one of the semi-final games of the African Cup of Nations 2023 on Feb 7,2024.

While it’s seemingly important to highlight that the Nigerians are yet to be defeated in the tournament so far, they are also one of the favorites to win the trophy based on their current performance.

Also, South Africa can be seen as a team that have deservedly attained their place as one of the last four of this year’s edition of the competition, as they’ve been brilliant in all areas.

Thus, this writing will examine some essential players and talk about three important battles that could determine the outcome of the game.

3 Victor Osimhen vs Grant Kekana

At this stage of the competition, Victor Osimhen has been Nigeria’s most energetic player in the attack, as his playing pattern has transformed the tactical set-up of the team.

The Napoli forward has been useful as he has been able to put his pace and attacking capability to decent use.

Despite netting only one goal in the tournament thus far, his general presence has been substantial as he has been key in creating goal-scoring openings for his teammates.

Monitoring the Nigerian forward has proven to be a rigorous task to take on, as several defenders have failed to curtail his attacking threats. Hence, it’s fundamental to point out that Kekana will have his work cut out.

Nonetheless, since coming into the starting XI in the second group stage game of this tournament, Kekana has been rock solid as South Africa’s defence has not conceded a goal in the four games that he has featured in so far.

Therefore, it remains to be seen if he would be able to keep Osimhen under wraps.

2 Themba Zwane vs Frank Onyeka

As South Africa’s most influential and dangerous attacking player, Zwane is one of the players to watch out for.

Based on statistics, Zwane has netted two goals in five games, which is the most by a South African player in the tournament so far. Thus, monitoring his movements might not be an easy task to take on.

However, Frank Onyeka has been the shield and the main engine room of Nigeria’s midfield as he has stabilized both the backline and the midfield in the competition so far. While it might be difficult to get past Onyeka, it will be intriguing to see who emerges on top in this battle.

1 Ademola Lookman vs Khuliso Mudau

As expected, Ademola Lookman has risen to be Nigeria’s most feared attacker in this competition as he has netted three goals.

One good thing about the winger is his potential to position himself to convert opportunities in the final third. Also, his finishing is scrumptious as well. Hence, there’s no doubt that it will be tough to monitor his movement, as Mudau will have to be at his best against Lookman.

However, Mudau has been pivotal in strengthening the backline of South Africa. So it remains to be seen if he will be able to silence Lookman in this clash.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *