CAPE TOWN – Newly-appointed South Africa national football team captain, Thulani ‘Tyson’ Hlatshwayo has branded the Super Eagles “arrogant” and says the Nigeria national team will be humbled on Saturday.
The two sides meet in a 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier on Saturday at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo with a win crucial for their hopes of reaching Africa’s biennial football showpiece.
South Africa have never beaten Nigeria in a competitive game buy Hlatshwayo believes that trend will be bucked on Saturday.
“It more like a baptism of fire to get this (named captain) ahead of the Nigeria game but we have played Nigeria before and we came close to beating them twice in our last two meetings and I think they are there for the taking this time around,” Hlatshwayo was quoted saying on http://www.safa.net.
“It’s somehow a familiar environment because I was then involved in those last two encounters and we should come back with a positive result.
“But Nigeria is a strong side, we need to respect them and show real character.
“Nigeria are a proud and arrogant team but I still believe we have now overcome that psychological barrier of not having beaten them in a competitive match; yet we could have done so in the past two games,” he said.
Hlatshwayo was part of the Bafana Bafana side that drew 2-2 with Nigeria’s Super Eagles in Uyo in the last competitive clash between the two sides on Nigerian soil.
That draw at the ‘Nest of Champions’ put paid to Nigeria’s hopes of reaching the 2015 Afcon and the Bafana captain is under no illusions that the result will still be fresh on many Nigerian minds.
“It’s going to be a grudge game this one. We denied them a place to the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations and they will be out for revenge and that might work exactly to our advantage,” He said.
The Bafana Bafana captain also noted that the team had responded massively to new coach Stuart Baxter adding the one week training period was enough for national team players.
PHOTO: SE bus in Uyo