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Africa Cup of Nations

Afcon 2019: South Africa believe they know how to deal with Nigeria - Segun Odegbami

4:57 am AEST 9/7/19
Nigeria
The former Super Eagles skipper is wary of the growing prowess of coach Stuart Baxter’s men

Former Nigeria captain Segun Odegbami has labeled the Super Eagles ‘underdogs’ ahead of Wednesday’s Africa Cup of Nations quarter-final clash against South Africa at the Cairo International Stadium.

Odegbami scored twice at Afcon 1980 to hand Nigeria a maiden African title, and while he is hoping they win fourth title in Egypt, he has identified Bafana Bafana as a team capable of stopping coach Gernot Rohr’s men.

According to the former skipper - fondly called ‘The Mathematical’ - the Super Eagles will need to be at their best to overcome the South Africans, who now believe they have mastered the act of beating Nigeria after years of futile efforts.

Nigeria and South Africa have played on 13 occasions, with the Super Eagles winning five and Bafana four, although Baxter's men are unbeaten in the previous five meetings.

“We are the underdogs, let me put it like that because they [South Africa] have a psychological advantage,” Odegbami said during an interview with a national television station on Monday.

“In the past couple of games that we have played, we have not been able to beat them. 

“The South Africans are on top. For so many years, we were just beating them everywhere, at home or away but suddenly in the recent years they have come up and now they believe they know how to deal with us so that psychology will help them”

Odegbami reiterated his belief in the Super Eagles' ability to win a fourth Afcon title in Egypt, but he is wary of the ‘dangerous’ South Africa team who knocked out tournament hosts Egypt at the weekend.

“South Africa are the most dangerous. They didn’t start well, but now they are doing well,” Odegbami continued.

So, Nigeria have to be very, very careful against them because once we can get rid of them, we will bring the cup back home."

Nigeria and South Africa were in the same group during Afcon 2019 qualifiers, and Baxter's men stunned the Super Eagles 2-0 at the Nest of Champions, while the reverse fixture ended 1-1.