Super Eagles of Nigeria denied South Africa a fighting chance in Group E of the AFCON 2019 qualifiers with a 1-1 draw at the FNB Stadium on Saturday.
Bafana Bafana will now have to wait until the final day of qualifying to book their place in next year’s Africa Cup of Nations.
Both teams started on a good note with runs coming in from Percy Tau and Lebo Mothibo giving the Nigerian defense a hard time.
The breakthrough came for the West Africans in the 9th minute with Samuel Kalu’s run against the Bafana Bafana defense from the wing. Kalu attempted a cross to Ahmed Musa but Buhle Mkhwanazi’s leg caught the ball instead, directing it past Itumeleng Khune.
The Southern Africans would not let the Eagles rest as they kept up the pressure on the three-time African Champions through the footballing genius of Percy Tau.
Bafana Bafana got their equalizer in the 26th minute when the Nigerian defense looked like it had been struck with a spell of misdirection, oblivious to the pass combinations of the South African attackers.
Percy Tau, who was praised by the Nigerian coach, Gernot Rohr, was instrumental and unrelenting when he received a pass, faked a shot, going past two Nigerian defenders and unselfishly assisting Lebo Mothiba with a goal effectively cancelling out Mkhwanazi’s own goal.
The equalizer gave Bafana Bafana a chance of qualifying of qualifying but nothing more came from both teams till the final whistle.
Nigeria would have gone ahead but for two controversial offside calls by the referee who followed the directions of his assistant.
The last time the Super Eagles where at the AFCON Finals was in 2013 which was hosted by South Africa with the final match played at the same stadium Nigeria drew South Africa on Saturday to qualify for the 2019 AFCON in Cameroun.
Nigeria will play against the Cranes of Uganda, who won their AFCON qualifying match against Cape Verde by a lone goal, in an international friendly on Tuesday, November 21, 2018, at the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba.