Nigeria will face South Africa in the quarterfinals of the African Cup of Nations this Wednesday, with the chance to face either Madagascar or any one of Ghana or Tunisia – tough opponents in their own right – in next week’s semis.
The three-time former champions came into the tournament with high hopes of adding another trophy to their growing cabinet, and have so far impressed across the group stages, with dominant attacking displays and steeling defensive performances.
Yet in South Africa, they face a side that forced the hosts, Egypt, out of the competition and boasts a pacey, counterattacking unit.
Indeed, this enthralling tie possesses all the hallmarks of turning out to be an entertaining affair between two top-quality sides, but our Nigeria vs South Africa predictions are expecting the Super Eagles to edge the game in a narrow 2-1 victory.
Peruse our projections and read all about how Nigeria will be able to secure safe passage to the semis…
Nigeria vs South Africa Predictions
Nigeria have quietly improved throughout this tournament, game by game, and come into Wednesday’s match as the favorites, with a whole host of attacking options that possess the potential to topple the South Africans in a way Egypt never could.
For all of Mohamed Salah’s individual brilliance, Stuart Baxter’s men had more shots against the Pharoah’s (14) than they could muster against Ivory Coast and Morocco combined (4), and deservedly emerged as the winners, while Egypt exited the competition in tatters.
In doing so, South Africa presents the Nigerians with the task of breaking through their persistent pressing and trying to orchestrate goalscoring chances where the likes of Salah and Trezeguet couldn’t.
Fortunately, the Super Eagles possess an attack more than capable to do the job during the 90 minutes, and that’s exactly what our Nigeria vs South Africa predictions and betting tips are expecting them to do.
Leading the goalscoring charge is Odion Ighalo – the striker taking the tournament by storm for Nigeria and their attacking contingent.
None more so evident than in Nigeria’s 3-2 win over Cameroon, where the 30-year-old was instrumental in his team’s victory over the Les Lions Indomptables.
Indeed, Ighalo’s two goals and assist that confirmed victory for his side was capped off by an impressive counterattacking performance, and alongside Alex Iwobi, the forward certainly looks the real deal.
If Nigeria are to progress through to the semifinals, they’ll need their star man to produce similar heroics against the South Africans this Wednesday, with the midfield ranks feeding him into the kind of one-on-one positions he has thrived and excelled in so far.
Nigeria vs South Africa Head To Head
The head-to-head stats further support our Nigeria vs South Africa predictions, with the Super Eagles not having lost in the last five fixtures between the two sides.
And while the most recent of the clashes saw a 2-2 draw played out between the two teams in the 2014 AFCON tournament, the previous results boasted of strong, Nigerian performances that convinced enough to suggest that year on year, the three-time champions have added to their attacking wealth – enough to overpower the team that sunk the hosts.
Nigeria Team News
Despite the fact that the Nigerians are leading the African Cup of Nations betting markets and are expected to win, they will be without captain John Obi Mikel, who strained his knee in the Super Eagles’ 2-0 loss to Madagascar.
The skipper was replaced by Alex Iwobi in the 59th minute, with fears surrounding the 32-year-old’s fitness suggesting that he could miss the remainder of the tournament.
The security and presence that Mikel provides in the center of the park is a crucial one, and our Nigeria vs South Africa predictions and betting tips are wagering that his absence will be a massive blow to the team’s hopes of clinching the title again.
South Africa Team News
Meanwhile, the Bafana Bafana have an injury crisis of their own to deal with, with influential midfielder Dean Furman potentially unavailable for this Wednesday’s game.
The vice-captain sat out of recent training sessions as he attempted to nurse a twisted knee, yet things aren’t looking too good for the South Africans regarding his reintegration into the side.
Whether he is able to play this latest AFCON clash with a heavily-strapped knee is still under contention, but this could be a potential risk should the team go on to defy the odds this Wednesday.
Nigeria vs South Africa Betting Tips
Novibet’s Nigeria vs South Africa match bets are tipping the three-time champions to do the job during the 90 minutes and progress through to the semifinals as a 49/50 pick, while their opponents are wagering as 63/20 outsiders in our Nigeria vs South Africa predictions and betting tips.
Their chances of qualifying are also boosted, betting at 11/25, whether that’s in regular time or extra time, whereas the South Africans are forecast at 7/4 to make it past this Wednesday’s opponents.
All in all, the odds are certainly not in South Africa’s favor, and betting against them in line with our projections, looks to be the safest punt to make.