The Super Eagles of Nigeria will take on South Africa’s Bafana Bafana in a friendly international encounter at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit on March 29.
The South Africans were selected as the opponents for Nigeria’s national team following the news that a potential match against Ghana’s Black Stars which was to take place in London was cancelled due to a FIFA directive which does not allow teams to play matches in two different continents within a three-day period.
Nigeria are set to face Bolivia at the Akwa Ibom International Stadium in Uyo on March 26 in a friendly, and therefore needed to organise another game on the African continent three days later.
The South African Football Association (SAFA) promised to organise a match against strong globally recognised opposition for the end of March, and when efforts to bring Argentina to the country failed due to the Copa America later this year, a match against the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) champions filled the void with strong opposition.
Argentina wanted to play available friendly matches against other South American opponents in order to prepare for their continental flagship competition in the best way possible, and were therefore unavailable to take on Bafana.
Speaking at a press conference to officially announce the Super Eagles match, SAFA President Dr Danny Jordaan explained the situation.
“The match that we looked at was Argentina, but they were clear that it’s the Cup of Nations for South America and hence it did not happen. Hence we started engaging Nigeria,” Jordaan told the media.
The Super Eagles will have a chance to exact some sort of revenge on the South Africans who managed two draws against the Nigerians in qualification for the 2015 AFCON, stopping them from making the trip to Equatorial Guinea in order to defend their Nations Cup title.
Both Bafana and the Super Eagles have AFCON and World Cup qualifiers in June and October respectively to look forward to, and this encounter will be used as part of their preparation for those important qualifying campaigns.