Nigeria vs South Africa: Super Eagles Player ratings

The Super Eagles' 2026 World Cup hopes were tested in a rollercoaster match against South Africa. A shaky first half saw them concede early, with Themba Zwane finding the back of the net in the 29th minute.

However, Nigeria roared back in the second half, with a quick equaliser from Fisayo Dele-Bashiru just a minute after the restart (46th minute).

Despite creating a flurry of chances in the second stanza compared to their first-half struggles, Nigeria couldn't capitalise on any of them

Let's go deeper into the individual performances to see which players shone and who needs to step up in the future.

Super Eagles player ratings: Nigeria vs South Africa
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Super Eagles player ratings

Benjamin Tanimu— 8

Solid defensively and helped start a number of attacks with his pin-point passing and comfort on the ball. Tanimu’s deployment at right-back was full of positives as the former Bendel Insurance man hardly put a foot wrong.

Oluwafisayo Dele-Bashiru – 8

After a relatively quiet first half where he saw limited possession, Fisayo Dele-Bashiru exploded into life after the break. He orchestrated a stunning equalizer for the Super Eagles, capping off a flowing sequence of passes with a well-placed shot. Dele-Bashiru's composure on the ball throughout the second half brought much-needed stability to the Nigerian midfield, proving his worth despite a slow start.

Alex Iwobi — 7.9

Freed of the shackles of playing in a midfield pairing, Alex Iwobi was dominant and creative playing as a roaming midfielder.

The Fulham midfielder plugged holes all over the pitch, dropping deep at times to help with the build-up and also arriving late in the box to cause a threat to the South African goal.

Stanley Nwabali — 7

Nwabali became the Super Eagles’ first-choice goalkeeper at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, and he performed well. However, there have been fears that he may not be consistent. And Maduka Okoye, who had a brilliant season with Udinese should take his place. Nonetheless, the Chippa United shot-stopper proved his quality once again, making some big calls that kept Nigeria in the game. Surprisingly, he still wears the number 23 jersey. But it is high time he gets the number 1 shirt because he absolutely deserves it!

Wilfred Ndidi — 7

Every step WIlfred Ndidi took showed how much the Super Eagles missed the Leicester midfielder at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.

Ndidi was excellent on the ball and showed a composure in the middle of the park that was sorely lacking.

Bright Osayi-Samuel — 7.1

Bright Osayi-Samuel was solid for the Super Eagles, but this is exactly what his job description entails. Received a yellow card early in the game but still delivered a decent performance.

Samuel Chukwueze— 7

Brought life to the right hand side of the attack when brought in for Kelechi Iheanacho. Was unlucky to have seen his strike hit the crossbar.

Paul Onuachu – 7

Paul Onuachu’s first-half performance was poor and hardly threatened the defence of the South Africans.

However, in the second half, he came out looking sharp and was part of the buildup leading to the goal.

Semi Ajayi — 6.9

Ajayi was also superb in defence for the Super Eagles, and his strength on and off the ball were important for stifling the majority of South Africa’s attacks.

Terem Moffi— 6

Came on as a substitute for Paul Onuachu in the second half, failed to make an impression. He went on to miss an opportunity to give Nigeria the win by squandering a goalscoring chance.

Cavin Bassey — 6

Calvin Bassey's performance mirrored the Super Eagles' overall display. He struggled alongside Semi Ajayi in a shaky first half, allowing South Africa to exploit gaps in the defence. However, Bassey emerged with renewed focus after the break. He tightened up his defending, ensuring nothing dangerous passed him by and contributing to a more solid showing from the Nigerian backline in the second half.

Super Eagles player ratings: Nigeria vs South Africa
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Raphael Onyedika — 6

Raphael Onyedika came on as a substitute in the second half and did enough to contribute to the Super Eagles' attack.

Alhassan Yusuf – 6

Forced into action after Dele-Bashiru's injury, Alhassan Yusuf played a crucial role in solidifying the Nigerian midfield. He excelled at distributing the ball to the attackers, providing them with the platform they needed to create chances in the second half. His composure and passing helped the Super Eagles regain control after a shaky first half.

Ademola Lookman — 6

After a blistering end to the club season with Atalanta, netting five goals in his last four games, Ademola Lookman failed to replicate that form for the national team. While he created chances and showed attacking intent, his decision-making and finishing lacked the precision he displayed recently. Several opportunities went begging, leaving many to wonder if he could have done more to secure a win for the Super Eagles.

Ademola Lookman: Super Eagles player ratings
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Kelechi Iheanacho — 4.5

Easily the poorest player on the pitch for the Super Eagles. The former Leicester City man rarely opened up the South African defence. Iheanacho was expected to be key for the Eagles attack, but in turn looked like someone who didn't understand his role.

What next?

Nigeria will head to Cote d’Ivoire where they will face Benin Republic on Monday.

The Super Eagles have now drawn their first three games in the qualifiers and sit second from bottom.

Group C now has a new leader after Lesotho climbed above all their rivals following a thrilling 2-0 win away to Zimbabwe.

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Toyosi Afolayan

Toyosi Afolayan is a sports journalist who breathes life into the games we love. He loves to combine insightful analysis with historical background, creating a richer understanding of sports. Afolayan's expertise ranges from captivating narratives to live broadcasts, captivating audiences across platforms like Ojbsport, AllNigeriaSoccer, TVC Entertainment, Bounce Networks, Kwara TV, ICIR, EaglesTracker, and NFF TV. His background in History and International Studies adds depth, revealing the connections between sports, politics, and national identity.