BY KUNLE SOLAJA
When the Super Eagles file out to face Bafana Bafana of South Africa on Saturday, it will not just be the fifth time the Nigerian side will be playing at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium; it is a milestone for both teams.
As Sports Village Square had earlier announced, the match marks Nigeria’s 100th Africa Cup of Nations qualifying duel if annulled matches are disregarded.
Also for the Bafana Bafana side, the match will be the team’s 50th Africa Cup of Nations qualifier since debut entrance in 1992, a month after South Africa was readmitted to international football.
Sports Village Square can confirm that despite South Africa just winning the tournament only once and on home soil, Bafana Bafana have a fair qualifying performance.
In the previous qualifying matches of the Africa Cup of Nations in the past 25 years, the team lost just seven of the 49 matches, but winning 21 and also drawing 21 including the two encounters with the Super Eagles three years ago.
Comparatively, Nigeria won 50 of the 99 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying matches, drawing 32 and losing 17. Nigeria’s qualifying matches could have been more since the 1962 debut, but for the withdrawals in the 1965 and 1970 preliminary competitions, the ban from 1998 edition and the automatic qualifications for 1980 and 1982 as hosts and defending champions respectively.