The former Technical Director, Nigeria Football Association, Olatunde Disu, on Monday warned that the Super Eagles would face a tricky and a tougher encounter against the Bafana Bafana in the quarter-finals of the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.
Disu gave the warning in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on his reflection about the crunchy and grudge match against the South African side. The Gernot Rohr tutored-side will on Wednesday face the Stuart Baxter-side in the quarter-finals duel in Cairo. The Bafana Bafana got a 1-0 surprising win over the host Pharaohs of Egypt in the round of 16
While the Super Eagles got the quarter-finals through a 3-2 win over their eternal rivals, Indomitable Lions of Cameroon at the Alexandria Stadium in Egypt.
It is on record that the Super Eagles had failed to beat Bafana Bafana in during the qualifiers as the first meeting at the Nest of Champions in Uyo went the way of the Baxter side. Tekelo Rantie and Percy Paul goals condemned Nigeria to defeat while the return leg in South Africa ended one goal at the piece.
Disu, a former Green Eagles Assistant Coach, said that the Bafana Bafana now know the Eagles pattern of play better than before, adding that the team should brace up for the tougher challenge.
“The Eagles must not be careless against this South Africans because they now know us better than before. We need to play with caution because they can outwit us. “We should remember that they defeated us right here in Nigeria and we also failed to defeat them in South Africa that should mean something to us.
“I am not saying that the Eagles cannot beat them, no, we have a stronger team to beat them, but technically we must not rely on that, we should play better than them.
“The Eagles are better now, with what they have displayed so far in AFCON, not minding the Madagascar debacle, they are at their best,’’ he said. Disu said the technical crew should look into the goalkeeping department, adding that the current first-choice goalkeeper, Daniel Akpeyi could be suspect.
“Technically, I may not be supporting the idea of putting Akpeyi in between the sticks because the South Africans know him better, he plays in their league.
“Akpeyi remains a suspect in goal for the Eagles because he sometimes fumbles with the balls which resulted in our first defeat in the hands of the Bafana Bafana during the qualifiers.
“The goalkeeping area remains an issue because the South Africans can shoot from outside the box because they understand our keeper very well, he himself may be too cautious against them,’’ he said.
Disu also said that he preferred Kenneth Omeruo to be in the heart of the defence with the pairing of Troost Ekong or Leon Balogun. “I will prefer Omeruo to be at the heart of the defence because he is strong and has a lot of tackles won, maybe anyone between Ekong or Balogun can pair him.
“So far so good, the Eagles have shown character in this AFCON, but they should not be careless, they have good ball distribution and well-organised defence.
“I will want them to attack more instead of defending; they need to play to attack the South Africans because they make use of the middle while the Eagles play from the flanks. “They should also be more disciplined to win the AFCON which is within distance, they can win the competition,’’ he said.