Bafana failed to take advantage of playing at home as they played out to a draw with the Super Eagles on Saturday
The South Africa national team will have to wait until the final day of qualifying to book their place in next year’s Africa Cup of Nations.
A first half Lebo Mothiba strike cancelled out Buhle Mkhwanazi’s own goal to give Bafana Bafana a chance of qualifying.
The road to Cameroon 2019 resumed in Johannesburg on a blistering hot Saturday afternoon as Bafana Bafana looked to do the double over arch nemesis Nigeria .
After a win and a draw over Seychelles during the previous international break, Bafana found themselves just a point adrift of leaders Nigeria heading into the penultimate game in Group E. This meant that victory over the away side would be enough for Bafana to guarantee their place in next year’s Africa Cup of Nations.
However, with injuries having hampered Bafana head coach Stuart Baxter’s squad selection for the clash, particularly in midfield, the technical team was forced to tinker with their line-up.
Baxter relied on the Mamelodi Sundowns partnership of Hlompho Kekana and Tiyani Mabunda while Themba Zwane and Thulani Serero came into the squad to partner the Percy Tau and Lebo Mothiba upfront,
Meanwhile for Nigeria, pressure would be on Gernot Rohr’s men, who were without top scorer Odion Ighalo. The former Watford forward has scored six goals in the qualifiers, and his absence due to injury meant that Ahmed Musa would have to withstand the burden of expectations of an entire nation.
However, it was Nigeria’s Alex Iwobi, who looked to take matters into his own hands early on, as he showed good skill and composure to unleash an effort at Itumeleng Khune’s goal. But the South Africa No.1 was up to the task as he made a good save to keep the scores level.
Nigeria were certainly looking the brighter of the two sides and their early pressure was rewarded as defender Mkhwanazi headed the ball past his own goalkeeper, putting the pressure firmly on the home side.