Bafana Bafana and Nigeria have lots of history and have faced each other 14 times but the outsiders have only beaten their opponents twice
The 2023 Africa Cup of Nations has not disappointed with only four teams now remaining ahead of tomorrow’s semi-finals.
Nigeria will face South Africa at 5pm GMT while hosts Ivory Coast take on DR Congo at 8pm for a place in the final.
Nigeria remain hot favourites to win their fourth AFCON title and have found form at the perfect time.
After securing second spot in Group A, the Super Eagles have excelled in the knockout stages, beating Cameroon and Angola.
Ademola Lookman has scored three goals in his last two outings and may have to step up again with manager Jose Peseiro sweating on the fitness of star striker Victor Osimhen.
A Nigerian Football Federation statement said: “Team medics confirmed that he [Osimhen] has been placed under close watch with a member of the medical team staying behind in Abidjan with him.
“If cleared by tomorrow morning, he will join the rest of the squad before 5pm.”
But even with their talisman fit and firing, South Africa are no pushovers and will be keen to cause a huge upset.
2010 World Cup hosts South Africa are underdogs in their semi-final clash but this year’s tournament proves there are no easy games.
Bafana Bafana and Nigeria have lots of history and have faced each other 14 times but the outsiders have only beaten their opponents twice.
Their most recent AFCON clash came in 2019 when South Africa lost to an 89th-minute winner from William Troost-Ekong but head coach Hugo Broos will be keen to get one over their rivals and go on to win their first title since 1996.
After picking up four points from the opening three games, Bafana Bafana stunned Morocco in the last 16 before seeing off Cape Verde in the quarter-finals on penalties.
Goalkeeper Ronwen Williams pulled off a remarkable four saves in the shootout and the 32-year-old will need to be at his best once again to keep Nigeria at bay.
Ivory Coast have done things the hard way on home soil and narrowly avoided falling at the first hurdle.
The Elephants lost back-to-back against Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea in the group stage but snuck through as one of the best third-placed teams — sacking head coach Jean-Louis Gasset along the way.
Since then, former midfielder Emerse Fae has stepped in as caretaker boss and masterminded a win on penalties over reigning champions Senegal in the last 16.
In the quarter-finals, it took a 122nd-minute winner from Oumar Diakite to see off a brave challenge from Mali and the heroic substitute was bizarrely then sent off for removing his shirt in celebration.
He will sit alongside Bayer Leverkusen defender Odilon Kossounou in the stands for the penultimate round of the tournament after the 23-year-old was also dismissed against the Eagles.
Africa’s second-largest nation drew all three of their group stage games but clicked into gear for the knockout stages.
A penalty shootout victory over much-fancied Egypt has been the highlight of their tournament so far but do not underestimate their win against Guinea in the quarter-finals.
Brentford forward Yoane Wissa has been starring for the Leopards and could inspire his country’s first AFCON title since 1974.