Football Tips

Africa Cup of Nations semi-final Betting Tips & Predictions: Nigeria vs South Africa


Both Nigeria and South Africa have won the Africa Cup of Nations before, with both now just two victories from glory.

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Who will book their place in Sunday’s Africa Cup of Nations Final?

Nigeria are three-times African Champions, most-recently hoisting aloft this trophy in Johannesburg 11 years ago, and they come into this tie as firm favourites to reach an eighth final.

Since drawing with Equatorial Guinea in their opener, the Super Eagles have won all four matches without conceding, including overcoming Cameroon 2-0 in the round of 16, thanks to Ademola Lookman’s brace.

Then, in Friday’s quarter-finals, Lookman was the hero again as José Peseiro’s team proved to be too strong for Angola at Stade Félix-Houphouët-Boigny, prevailing 1-0.

Prior to the tournament, the general consensus was that Nigeria possessed enough firepower to go all the way, but that their defensive fallibility would ultimately cost them.

In contrast, as mentioned, they’ve gone over 414 minutes without conceding, while the back three of William Troost-Ekong, Semi Ajayi and Calvin Bassey that Peseiro is deploying appears to be rock-solid.

Thus, a Nigerian victory in Bouaké is expected by most.

South Africa meantime won this competition on debut in 1996, also reaching the ‘98 final and 2000 semis, but this is their first appearance in the last four since those glory days 24 years ago.

Bafana Bafana only won one of their group games, this against minnows Namibia, so went into last Tuesday’s round of 16 tie against Morocco in San Pédro as huge underdogs.

This has been an AFCON of shocks, but their 2-0 victory over the World Cup semi-finalists might just top the lot, with second half goals from Evidence Makgopa and then Teboho Mokoena securing a famous 2-0 win.

The latter was a thunderous free-kick that thwacked in off the crossbar, making a very satisfying sound.

After that, on Saturday night, Hugo Broos’ side played out a rather dire goalless draw with Cape Verde in Yamoussoukro, meaning a penalty shootout was required.

Of the nine spot-kicks taken, only three were scored, with goalkeeper Ronwen Williams, quite astonishingly, saving four of the five he faced as South Africa got through 2-1 in the shootout.

In the history of the Cup of Nations, there have been 43 penalty shootouts, with this the first to see three or fewer spot-kicks converted.

Forget all of that, Bafana Bafana do not care, because they’re just two games away from an unlikely triumph.

The last time these two nations met was at the 2019 AFCON, with Nigeria winning that quarter-final 2-1 in Cairo, courtesy of a dramatic 89th minute winner from the aforementioned William Troost-Ekong.

As they reconvene at Stade de la Paix, we’re backing Nigeria to repeat that victory and secure their place in Sunday’s final.

Nigeria to win and both teams to score NO

We expect Nigeria to be too strong in Bouaké, while we’re also backing the Super Eagles to collect a fifth successive clean sheet.

Goalkeeper Stanley Nwabili, who plies his trade in South Africa, had never played in a competitive international prior to this tournament, but has been excellent, conceding just one goal in five outings so far.

Historically, the Super Eagles have won seven of their 14 meetings with Bafana Bafana, losing only two, winning all three AFCON encounters: 2-0 in Lagos in 2000, 4-0 in Monastīr in 2004 and 2-1 in Cairo in 2019.

Hugo Broos’ side have failed to score in seven of their last 12 outings, a tally we foresee rising here.

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Nigeria to win and both teams to score NO

Nigeria vs South Africa

Victor Osimhen to score anytime

Supporters had sky-high expectations for Victor Osimhen ahead of this tournament, but he’s yet to really live up to the hype, scoring only once so far, this in their group phase opener against Equatorial Guinea.

The Napoli striker has however bagged 21 international goals in just 33 caps, despite his ongoing draught, 16 short of Rashidi Yekini’s all-time national record that has stood since 1998.

Flanked by Moses Simon and in-form Ademola Lookman, we’re backing Osimhen to fire Nigeria through to the final with a goal at Stade de la Paix.

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Victor Osimhen to score anytime

Nigeria vs South Africa

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Ben Gray

Ben Gray

Arsenal fan – follow them over land and sea (and Leicester); sofa Celtic supporter; a bit of a football '"encyclopedia".