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Nigeria Vs South Africa: Beyond Football

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Nigeria News takes a look at the match between the Super Eagles and Bafana Bafana.

The Zulus were not happy on Wednesday. They are still nursing their pains over the defeat in the hands of the Super Eagles of Nigeria.

Why not another country instead of Nigeria, the Bafana Bafana cried in pains as they bowed out of the African Cup of Nation, AFCON in Cairo Egypt on Wednesday night.

The three-time African champions, the Super Eagles of Nigeria defeated the Bafana Bafana by 2-1.

Before then, South Africa had sent the host country, Egypt packing with a lone goal at the round of 16.

So painful that the Chairman of the Egypt Football Federation resigned while South Africa went into wild jubilation and set a date with Nigeria in the quarter-final.

Victory over Egypt boosted the Zulus’ confidence. Their coach and players boasted, “We do not fear Nigeria, we know how to win Super Eagles.”

The South Africans had quickly forgotten that these Super Eagles just defeated the reigning African Champions, the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon in a Five-Goal Thriller that saw Nigeria coming from 1-2 to win at 3-2.

On Wednesday, South Africa bowed to a better side. Nigeria scored through Samuel Chukwueze in the 27 minutes and held on to the goal until 70th minutes when the Bafana Bafana equalized in a controversial goal that was settled by the Video Assisted Referee.

But William Ekong 89th minutes goal sank the Zulus.

Devastated, the South Africans were persuaded to leave the pitch as the Eagles flew in the air rejoicing over a hardearned victory.

However, Nigerians in the city of Johannesburg could not pop Champaign, neither could those in Soweto jubilate their victory over South Africa.

They kept indoor to share their joy for the fear of xenophobia. Many Nigerians have suffered xenophobic attacks in South Africa.

They dare not storm the street to sing songs of victory.

Nigeria and South Africa are rivals when it comes to comparing economic indicators but not in football.

Of course, South Africa has closed the gap with Nigeria, the Super Eagles are not in the same class with Bafana Bafana.

Nigeria is far above South Africa in football. Those who rival with Nigeria include Cameroon and Ghana but not South Africa.

That Bafana Bafana beat Nigeria 2-0 in the AFCON qualifier does not suggest that South Africa had arrived to dominate the Super Eagles, no.

The quarterfinal game between the two, no doubt was tension soaked but the better side won. Obviously, South Africa showed character, determination to win but the resilience and experience of Nigeria side gave West Africa the superior power.

It was more than football and AFCON, the match between South Africa and Nigeria was a battle for national superiority and pride.

It was a game of the heart and not the legs. It has political implication to both countries and moral justifications for the lads that don the colours of their countries.

Perhaps, that was why the African legend and one of the brightest Nigeria players, Kanu Nwankwo sprinted from the VIP seat to jubilate with his successors after the win over Bafana Bafana.

Kanu is a CAF Ambassador to AFCON, his name rented the air, “Pappilo, Pappilo’ from the Egyptian fans who wanted Bafana Bafana out of the competition.

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