Super Eagles of Nigeria, the prospective African champions, are scheduled to make their way to Bouake on Tuesday for a highly anticipated semi-final encounter against South Africa’s Bafana Bafana in the 34th Africa Cup of Nations.
The three-time champions will intensify their preparations for the crucial match in Abidjan on both Sunday and Monday. The official training session is slated to take place upon their arrival in Bouake, Cote d’Ivoire’s second city, on Tuesday afternoon.
Interestingly, history echoes as, four decades ago, during the Africa Cup of Nations hosted by Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria also contested their semi-final in Bouake, facing off against Egypt. The match is fondly remembered as one of the tournament’s highlights.
In that memorable clash, the Pharaohs, led by Mahmoud Al-Khatib and featuring talents like Taher Abou Zeid, Magdi Abdel Ghani, Ali Shehata, Ibrahim Youssef, and goalkeeper Thabet El-Batal, took an early 2-0 lead within the first half-hour.
However, Stephen Keshi’s penalty goal before halftime and an impeccable assist that led to Bala Ali’s equalizer in the second half turned the tide. Nigeria ultimately triumphed in the ensuing penalty shootout, securing an 8-7 victory.
Recalling the Nigerian squad from that historic day includes names such as goalkeeper Peter Rufai, Kingsley Paul, Yisa Sofoluwe, Sunday Eboigbe, Humphrey Edobor, Chibuzor Ehilegbu, Ademola Adeshina, Mudashiru Lawal, Henry Nwosu, and Rashidi Yekini. The upcoming clash against South Africa is poised to be another chapter in Nigeria’s storied AFCON history.
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