HomeSportsOsimhen Boosts Super Eagles’ Hopes for AFCON Semi-Final Clash

Osimhen Boosts Super Eagles’ Hopes for AFCON Semi-Final Clash

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Nigeria’s star striker Victor Osimhen has joined his teammates in Bouake, Ivory Coast, ahead of their crucial Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) semi-final match against South Africa on Wednesday.

Osimhen, who has scored four goals in the tournament so far, was doubtful for the game after suffering from abdominal discomfort on Monday. He was left behind at the team’s hotel in Abidjan while the rest of the squad traveled to Bouake, the venue of the semi-final.

However, after undergoing further tests and treatment, the Napoli forward was cleared to play by the team’s medical staff on Tuesday evening. He flew to Bouake and participated in the team’s final training session at the Stade Annexe.

“Victor Osimhen has been declared fit and available for selection in the semi-final clash against South Africa on Wednesday,” a statement from the Super Eagles’ official social media account read. “He has joined the team in Bouake and has trained with the squad on Tuesday.”

Osimhen’s recovery is a huge boost for Nigeria, who are aiming to win their fourth AFCON title and their first since 2013. The Super Eagles have been impressive in the knockout stages, beating defending champions Senegal 1-0 in the round of 16 and Cameroon 2-0 in the quarter-finals.

South Africa, on the other hand, has been the surprise package of the tournament, reaching the last four for the first time since 2000. The Bafana Bafana have shown resilience and determination, holding Tunisia and Cape Verde to goalless draws and beating Morocco 2-0 in the previous rounds.

The two teams have a history of fierce rivalry, having met 15 times in all competitions, with Nigeria winning eight, South Africa winning three, and four ending in draws. The most recent encounter was in the 2021 AFCON qualifiers, where Nigeria won 2-0 in Johannesburg.

Both sides have also faced each other twice in the AFCON, with Nigeria winning 2-0 in the 2000 semi-final and South Africa winning 2-1 in the 2019 quarter-final. The latter result ended Nigeria’s 12-match unbeaten run against South Africa and sparked wild celebrations among the Bafana Bafana fans.

However, Nigeria will be hoping to avenge that defeat and book their place in the final, where they could face either hosts Ivory Coast or DR Congo, who play in the other semi-final on Thursday. South Africa, meanwhile, will be looking to cause another upset and reach their second AFCON final, after winning the trophy in 1996.

The match promises to be an exciting and tense affair, as both teams have quality players and coaches who know each other well. Nigeria is coached by Gernot Rohr, a German tactician who has been in charge since 2016. South Africa is led by Hugo Broos, a Belgian veteran who guided Cameroon to the 2017 AFCON title.

The fans of both teams are also expected to create a lively atmosphere at the 25,000-capacity Stade de Bouake, which has hosted some of the most memorable matches of the tournament so far. The kick-off time is 5:00 PM local time (4:00 PM GMT).

With only two games left to decide the champions of Africa, both Nigeria and South Africa will be eager to give their best and make their nations proud. No matter the outcome, the match will be a showcase of African football at its finest.

Source: Business Day

 

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