Super Eagles head coach Gernot Rohr has urged his team to avoid complacency if they are to qualify for the semi-finals of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations on Wednesday.
The national football team will clash with the Bafana Bafana of South Africa in their quarterfinal duel at the Cairo International Stadium at 8pm Nigerian time.
Even as millions of football lovers in the country look forward to a successful outing by the Eagles on Wednesday, they will remember that the Nigerian side have so far looked particularly shaky in defence.
The main culprit in the Eagles’ backline was Leon Balogun, whose blunder led to the first goal conceded by the side in the shock 2-0 loss to Madagascar.
There was evidence of the same problem in last Saturday’s 3-2 Last 16 victory over reigning champions and perennial rivals Cameroon at Alexandria.
Yet, Rohr is hopeful his side will put up a solid performance against the South Africans in tomorrow evening’s make or mar encounter and thus advance to the semifinals.
“We played against South Africa in the qualifiers and it was difficult for us. To beat them, we have to be strong and avoid some of the mistakes we made in our previous games,” Rohr told Completesports.
According to the Franco-German coach, the boys must show “total concentration“, and should make the best use of their chances.
The last time Nigeria and South Africa met at the elimination stage of the Nations Cup was in 2000 in Lagos, when the Super Eagles eased past the Bafana Bafana 2-0 at the semi-finals.
However, in the qualifiers for AFCON 2019, South Africa emerged with a better head-to-head, achieving a shock 2-0 victory over Nigeria in Uyo, and forcing the Super Eagles to a 1-1 draw in Johannesburg.