Nigeria vs South Africa: AFCON 2000 semi-final repeat on the cards?

A place in the final of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON 2024) is up for grabs as Nigeria vs South Africa go head-to-head at the Stade de la Paix on Wednesday.

These teams have the best defences at this tournament, as they did not concede in their last four respective matches.

As Nigeria and South Africa meet in the semi-final of AFCON 2024, it's worth mentioning that this isn't their first encounter in the last four.

The Super Eagles clashed with Bafana Bafana in the semi-final of AFCON 2000, a tournament that was co-hosted by Nigeria and Ghana.

Nigeria vs South Africa AFCON 2000 semi-final

After Nigeria won AFCON 1994, South Africa became arguably the hottest team on the continent.

They dethroned the Super Eagles in 1996, winning their first AFCON title. Although Bafana Bafana failed to defend their title, they advanced to the final in 1998, losing to Egypt.

In 2000, South Africa were eyeing a third consecutive trip to the Nations Cup final. They had finished first in Group B with seven points from a possible nine.

Bafana Bafana met co-hosts Ghana in the quarter-final, defeating the Black Stars by a lone goal.

On the other hand, Nigeria's Super Eagles finished at the top of Group D with seven points.

They eliminated Senegal in the quarter-final after Julius Aghahowa scored twice in a tightly contested 2-1 victory that went all the way to extra time.

Nigeria vs South Africa
Photo by Icon Sport

Super Eagles star Tijani Babangida's brace sinks Bafana Bafana

This was the third encounter between Nigeria and South Africa.

They had previously met twice in the qualifying rounds of the 1994 FIFA World Cup, with the Super Eagles cruising through a 4-0 victory in the first game before a goalless draw in the reverse fixture.

Led by Trott Moloto, Bafana Bafana were on a quest to avenge that humiliating loss.

However, it didn't take long for South Africa to fall behind, as Tijani Babangida opened the scoring for Nigeria just 38 seconds into the match.

Even though they had the lead, it was the Super Eagles who kept piling the pressure on Bafana Bafana, and sure enough, Babangida doubled Nigeria's lead in the 34th minute, securing the victory for the Super Eagles.

What happened after Nigeria vs South Africa's AFCON 2023 clash?

South Africa played out a 2-2 draw against Tunisia in their third-place match, with Shaun Bartlett and Siyabonga Nomvethe getting on the scoresheet.

Bafana Bafana eventually came out on top after a penalty shootout. This means they won gold, silver and bronze in three consecutive AFCON events, in that order.

On the other hand, the Super Eagles had to claw their way back into the game, after trailing by two goals in the final against Cameroon.

However, their efforts were in vain, as Bonfrère Jo's troops lost on penalties.

Nigeria and South Africa finished second and third, respectively, in AFCON 2000.

Nigeria vs South Africa
Photo by Icon Sport

Nigeria vs South Africa AFCON 2024 head to head stats

Bafana Bafana don't exactly have a great track record against the Super Eagles. They won just two of 14 skirmishes between these teams, with five draws and seven losses.

This will be the fourth meeting between these teams at the Nations Cup, and Nigeria came out on top every time they faced South Africa.

Interestingly, Hugo Broos' men have found ways to win, even when they aren't the best team on the pitch. It remains to be seen if they can get their first AFCON victory over the Super Eagles at this tournament.

Nigeria vs South Africa will take place on Wednesday January 7, by 6pm WAT.

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Kelechi Udoka

Kelechi is an avid Enyimba fan who enjoys writing about the beautiful game. He has written thousands of articles for a few publications over the years.