Former Nigeria goalkeeper Greg Etafia has given Bafana Bafana no chance to get something from the Super Eagles in the Africa Cup of Nations semi-final on Wednesday, saying there is no rivalry between the two nations.
Bafana will face Nigeria in the semi-final at the Stade de la Paix at 19:00 (SAST), in what will be the first meeting at this stage since they met in 2000, with the Super Eagles winning 2-0 before losing to Cameroon in the final.
What gives Etafia more confidence is that Nigeria have picked up form since they drew with Equatorial Guinea in the opening Group A match. They have won the last four matches without conceding a goal.
This also started slow when they won the competition in South Africa in 2013, drawing their first two games before going all the way to win the trophy under the late Steven Keshi.
Bafana, just like Nigeria, appear to be growing game-by-game, having lost their first game against Mali. They have also kept four clean sheets, including beating Cape Verde on penalties on Saturday to reach the semi-final for the first time in 24 years.
“Nigeria is growing in the tournament,” said Etafia, who was on the bench when Nigeria thumped Bafana 4-0 in the group stage match in 2004, which was the first time Bafana failed to progress to the knockout stages.
“Remember the last time they won it, in South Africa, they drew the two games against Burkina Faso and Zambia, but they went all the way to reach the final. So, they know how to play tournament football.
“At the same time, you can see the same thing with South Africa. It is that bunch of players from Mamelodi Sundowns that has helped them because that club has invested a lot in football.
“They are one of the best in the CAF Champions League, and the new African Football League.
“You see Ronwen Williams, he has been at the AFCON before , and has won a lot of games, so it will be an interesting game.
“But there is no rivalry here. Rivalry is when you are close. [Nigeria’s] rivalry is Ivory Coast, Ghana. Ghana has four AFCONs, and we have three and South Africa has not won since 1996.”
The last time these two sides met in this competition was in the 2019 edition, with Bafana losing 2-1 in the quarterfinals in Egypt.