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Ronwen Williams confident of Bafana Bafana victory

South Africa goalkeeper
Ronwen Williams
believes Bafana Bafana have what it takes to
beat Nigeria in their backyard when they face the Super Eagles in a
2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying encounter next month.

The two heavyweights will come face-to-face on 7 June in Abuja,
in a game that will be key in deciding who finishes at the summit
of Group C of the CAF World Cup qualifiers. South
Africa are currently second in the group with three
points after winning one out of their two qualifying matches so
far.

Nigeria are also a point behind Bafana Bafana, having dawn both
of their qualifying matches against Zimbabwe and Lesotho. With
Rwanda sitting at the top of the group ahead of the two
heavyweights, the upcoming game between Nigeria and South Africa
has gained added prominence.

The Super Eagles have a better head-to-head record against Hugo
Broos’ side, but have won just once against them in their previous
seven meetings. The last encounter between the two teams came
during the
Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON 2024) in Ivory Coast
three months
ago, where Nigeria beat South Africa in the semi-finals on
penalties following a 1-1 draw in regulation and extra time.

Ronwen Williams targets repeat of 2017
win over Super Eagles 

Williams was a key member of the Bafana Bafana side that lost on
penalties to Nigeria in Ivory Coast and believes he and his
teammates are capable of beating the Super Eagles in Abuja.

The Mamelodi Sundowns goalkeeper enjoyed an impressive AFCON
tournament, where he kept five clean sheets in seven matches on his
way to winning the Golden Glove. The 32-year-old is also one of few
players who were in the squad when South Africa upset Nigeria in
their own backyard seven years ago.

Ronwen Williams confident of Bafana Bafana will beat Super Eagles
Photo by Icon
Sport

Facing the West Africans in a 2019 AFCON qualifier at the
Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo, Bafana Bafana romped
to a 2-0 victory following second-half goals from Tokelo Rantie and
Percy Tau. Although Nigeria are much improved
and have better players now, Williams is confident that
South Africa can repeat another win over the Super Eagles away from
home.

“The last time we went to Nigeria we beat them … I was part of
that squad so I will share my experience with the players,”
Williams said, as quoted by The Citizen SA.

“And it was a valuable experience in the AFCON, playing Nigeria.
I think that was one of our better games at the AFCON, so it is
possible to go there and get a result. Why not? We have shown we
can compete with the best, we just need to show that
consistency.”

Nigeria’s poor record against South
Africa in the last decade 

Meanwhile, Finidi George is faced with the daunting task of
getting the better of South Africa, who have been a thorn in the
flesh of the Super Eagles in the last decade. 

Since 2014, Nigeria have played seven matches against
Bafana Bafana and have won just once from open play – a
2-0 victory that came during the 2019 AFCON. This is a record that
George will be aiming to change after being appointed as the
substantive head coach of the Nigeria national team.

The 53-year-old showed flashes of what he could bring on board
when he guided the Super Eagles to an impressive win over Ghana
during the March international break, but his flaws were also
evident in the team’s disappointing 2-0 defeat at the hands of
Mali.

While the game against South Africa will be George’s first
competitive match in charge, he has very little room for a false
start after being tasked with qualifying the Super Eagles for the
next World Cup. 

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