• Babangida relishes AFCON 2000 brace against S’Africa

    Babangida relishes afcon 2000 brace against safrica - nigeria newspapers online
    • 3Minutes – Read
    • 489Words (Approximately)

    and 2000 Africa Cup of Nations silver medallist, Tijani Babangida, is basking in the euphoria of scoring a brace against South Africa in the last four of the tournament 24 years ago, as both teams prepare to meet again in the semi-final of the 2023 edition in Ivory Coast on Wednesday (today), reports.

    The Super Eagles and the Bafana Bafana will clash in the first semi-final of the ongoing tournament and their fourth AFCON meeting at the Stade de la Paix in Bouke, with the winner setting up a date with whoever advances between hosts Ivory Coast and DR Congo in the other semi-final match which will be played in the Ivorian capital Yamoussoukro.

    Babangida, now 50, opened scoring in just 36 seconds inside a packed Nations Stadium, Surulere, Lagos, and doubled Nigeria’s lead before halftime and his brace was enough to secure a final berth against Cameroon in the final.

    Although Nigeria lost the final 4-3 on penalties after drawing 2-2 against the Indomitable Lions, Babangida says the semi-final performance remains one of his most-cherished moments in the Nigerian jersey.

    “I remember everything about the game because the situation and that atmosphere that day meant a lot,” Babangida told .

    “We were playing at home and South Africa were doing very well in Africa at that time. They had just beaten Ghana at home in Accra in the quarter-finals to set up the semi-final clash with us. And we were also suspended for the last two editions of the tournament so it meant a lot. We were looking like their next victims and we had to fight that in the stadium and luckily, I scored the two goals. The first is one of the fastest goals in the history of the AFCON.”

    Ahead of what will be a fourth AFCON meeting between both countries, Babangida is optimistic about the Eagles passage to the next round as they hope to win a fourth title.

    “I can say we are too good for them but in football you never can tell and you can see Nigeria at this moment, the confidence we have, nobody can stop us,” Babangida told our correspondent.

    “Back home we know the cup is ours and the players are showing that too but they must keep their discipline in them. They know everyone is waiting for them, so they have to fight, no matter how easy it might seem. I don’t see South Africa stopping this team.”

    On the three occasions Nigeria and South Africa have met at the AFCON, the Eagles have won each of the games. Nigeria beat them 2-0 in the 2000 semi-finals before inflicting a 4-0 defeat on them in the group stages of the 2004 edition in Tunisia.

    At the 2019 AFCON in Egypt, Samuel Chukwueze and William Troost-Ekong were the scorers as Nigeria won 2-1 in the quarter-finals.

    Wednesday’s meeting will kick off at 6pm Nigerian time at the Stade de la Paix, Bouake, Ivory Coast.

    See More Stories Like This