Bafana Bafana of South Africa will be emboldened by recent results against Nigeria to again improve on a dismal head-to-head record against the Super Eagles in Johannesburg on Saturday.
South Africa have only won twice, lost seven times and drawn on four other meetings with the Eagles.
However, you will have to go back to August 2014 for the last time Bafana Bafana lost to Nigeria – a 3-1 defeat in a 2014 CHAN group game in Cape Town.
Since that loss, both teams have clashed on four other occasions and it is a lot happier reading for the South Africans as they have won once and drawn the other three matches.
And of those draws, the Eagles barely forced a 2-2 draw in front of their fans in Uyo in November 2014.
That draw eliminated Nigeria from the 2015 AFCON in Equatorial Guinea as the Eagles needed a win to qualify.
This means you have to go back to August 11, 2013, to when the Eagles last beat South Africa – 2-0 in the Mandela Challenge in Durban.
What is also a fact is that both teams have been depleted by injuries going into Saturday’s showdown in Johannesburg.
South Africa will be on account of injuries be without Belgium-based striker Percy Tau as well as Keegan Dolly, who were both part of the winning team to Nigeria last year.
Nigeria, on the other hand, will be greatly changed from the last clash with Bafana Bafana as they will be missing five of those who featured in that game – Elderson Echiejile, Chiedozie Awaziem, Ogenyi Onazi, Shehu Abdullahi and Wilfred Ndidi.
And on Saturday, the stakes will be much higher – qualification to 2019 AFCON – for both teams.
A point on the road will book the ticket for Nigeria, while South Africa may need all three points to guarantee their passage.
Bafana goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune said: “We just need to believe in ourselves.
“No one gave us a chance in Nigeria, but we showed our class and got a positive result.
“We have to show them at FNB we don’t fear them and get the maximum points.”
Super Eagles Head-to-Head vs South Africa
Eagles Won 7 Draw 4 Lost 2
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 Sept 2008: South Africa 0 Nigeria 1 – Port Elizabeth (World Cup Qual.)
11 Aug 2013: South Africa 0 Nigeria 2 – Durban (Mandela Challenge)
19 Aug 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)
10 June 2017: Nigeria 0 South Africa 2 – Uyo (AFCON Qualifier)
By Kola Daniel in Asaba