It’s been 933 days since South Africa left that bitter taste in the mouth of Nigerians at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium – it was a disaster.
19 November, 2014 was the date; one not many want to forget in a hurry.
Holders of the Africa Cup of Nations crown, the Super Eagles laboured to a 2-2 draw against Bafana, but that result felt like a defeat – it was indeed.
Only two years before, Stephen Keshi had engineered the biggest Afcon coup. Leading 19 greenhorns + 4 Lieutenants to Nigeria’s third African crown and in Johannesburg to.
But here, like a revenge mission for that and other past humiliations, Ephraim “Shakes” Mashaba and his boys played the spoilers, and they did it right there at our own backyard.
2 years, 6 months and 21 days later Stuart Baxter returns with the boys to seek out points, perhaps, as the two fight for a spot from Group E to reach the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
But a lot has changed since 2014.
Both Nigeria and South Africa have since hired new technical hands and in turn, the gaffers have have greatly altered the composition of the teams.
For Nigeria, only three starters fromm the 2014 team have been called up for this game.
Onazi Ogenyi, Kenneth Omeruo and Ahmed Musa. The Head Coach Stephen Keshi also lost the confidence of the NFF and was subsequently relieved of his position.
On the part of the South Africans, only four players from Shakes’ starting XI made the 25-man list invited by newly appointed Stuart Baxter.
They are Darren Keet, Dean Furman, Kermit Erasmus and Tokelo Rantie.
Here’s the full starting XIs for Nigeria and South Africa in 2014:
Nigeria: Enyeama, Ambrose, Omeruo, Egwuekwe, Oshaniwa; Onazi, Lawal, Mikel; Uche, Musa, Emenike
South Africa: Darren Keet, Sibusiso Khumalo, Anele Ngcongca, Eric Mathoho, Tefu Mashamaite, Dean Furman, Reneilwe Letsholonyane, Oupa Manyisa, Mandla Masango, Kermit Erasmus, Tokelo Rantie.