Eagles reject prospect of Bafana loss

William Troost-Ekong VI Images via Getty Images

It has been 25 years since Nigeria played South Africa for the first time. The Super Eagles were in the early years of their ascendancy to an African football powerhouse and Bafana Bafana were emerging from the grip of apartheid.

Two goals from Rashidi Yekini and one each from Richard Owubokiri and Samson Siasia handed Bafana a rude welcome to competitive football.

At the time, and despite their relative inexperience on the international stage, it must have been inconceivable that the South Africans would spend the next 25 years unable to find a way to defeat their west African opponents in a match that mattered.

There have been 10 competitive meetings between the sides, and the score sheet makes for miserable reading for Bafana and their fans.

It is misery that the current Nigeria squad would like to compound when they clash on Saturday in an African Cup of Nations qualifier.

"Not on our watch," insists defender William Troost-Ekong, who has emerged as one of the leaders in the defence, when asked if this time will break the trend.

"We won't be the ones to spoil our great record against them," he tells KweséESPN.

Midfielder and stand-in captain Ogenyi Onazi was in the team that drew 2-2 last time out at the same venue in Uyo, where Bafana nearly recorded a shock upset. He did not pull any punches, saying: "This will be payback for what happened last time.

"We want to start making amends for what happened in the past and they were part of it. So it will not be in our time that they will win against us."

Gernot Rohr is bang in the middle of building a formidable squad of highly talented young, motivated, and hungry players. Under Rohr, the Super Eagles have not lost in seven games, including against African giants like Senegal and emerging heavyweights Zambia.