• The two sides have met 14 times, with the Super Eagles enjoying a lion’s share of the results with seven victories against two for South Africa, with the remaining five ending in stalemates.
• Meanwhile, Mali head coach Éric Sékou has taken responsibility for his side’s exit in the quarter-finals.
When South Africa’s Bafana Bafana face old-time foes, the Super Eagles of Nigeria, in the first Africa Cup of Nations semifinal on Wednesday, it will be a repeat of the 2000 semifinal that saw the West Africans overcome the 1996 champions 2-0 in Lagos.
This rivalry will be renewed in Cote d’Ivoire as Nigeria chase a fourth title while South Africa look ahead to what has been an elusive second.
Following the 2000 semifinal defeat, the Super Eagles edged Bafana Bafana in the quarterfinals of the 2019 edition in Egypt with a narrow 2-1 win.
The two sides have met 14 times, with the Super Eagles enjoying a lion’s share of the results with seven victories against two for South Africa, with the remaining five ending in stalemates.
This will be another entry for the rich history books of African football, with Bafana Bafana now under the guidance of two former African champions against a star-studded Super Eagles side.
The Southern African side are led by 2017-winning coach Hugo Broos, who guided the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon to victory five years ago.
The Belgian tactician is assisted by Helman Mkhalele, a key member of the 1996 golden generation that lifted South Africa’s first and only African title.
It will be an uphill battle containing an explosive Super Eagles side led by the dangerous Victor Osimhen and the red-hot Ademola Lookman.
Meanwhile, Mali head coach Éric Sékou has taken responsibility for his side’s exit in the quarter-finals.
The Eagles were knocked out by a nine-man Cotê d’Ivoire despite their dominance in the second half.
Reacting to Cotê d’Ivoire’s late extra-time win, Sékou expressed his disappointment in the result.
“I’m disappointed for my players and the population of Mali as well, I have always respected everybody, whether it is the national team or the fans,” he said.
“I do make mistakes sometimes and it is so because I am a human being, if I have offended anyone, they should forgive me.
“We did everything to win this game but it didn’t happen, it’s a failure but we will keep our heads up. The first person to blame is me, I will go to Bamako to discuss my future with the Malian federation,” he added.