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By Katlego Modiba

Football Journalist

Bafana hold Nigeria to credible draw

Zwane combined with Sphephelo Sithole to great effect as Bafana got their noses in front on the half hour mark.

Bafana Bafana held Nigeria to a 1-1 draw in a 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifier at a packed Godwill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo on Friday night. Themba Zwane’s goal in the first half was cancelled out by Fisayo Dele-Bashuri, with both nations settling for a share of the spoils.

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The draw between the two continental heavyweight means that Lesotho are top of Group C with five points. The valuable point away from home leaves Bafana in fourth position behind Rwanda and Benin while Nigeria are in fifth, above bottom-placed Zimbabwe.

Hugo Broos’ charges were good value for their lead at the break after a mature performance. The ’96 AFCON champions were disciplined in defence and looked threatening every time they went forward with the quick Iqraam Rayners leading the line.

Teboho Mokoena came close to opening the scoring in the 17th minute but his free-kick shaved the crossbar with Nigeria and Chippa United goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali rooted to his line.

Zwane combined with Sphephelo Sithole to great effect as Bafana got their noses in front on the half hour mark. Sithole’s clever reverse pass set up the evergreen Zwane who dribbled past two defenders inside the box to fire past Nwabali.

Khuliso Mudau should have doubled Bafana’s lead six minutes later when he went on one of his forward runs down the right flank. Nwabali got off his line to thwart the danger with Calvin Bassey clearing the resultant rebound away for a corner kick.

Nigeria hit back

Bafana were given a reminder on just how dangerous the Super Eagles can be with Ademola Lookman’s cross from the left finding Paul Onuachu. Fortunately for Bafana, the striker’s downward header was straight at Ronwen Williams.

It only took a minute after the restart for Nigeria to find the equaliser through Dele-Bashuri who easily turned Mothobi Mvala to smash his right-footed effort past Williams and into the bottom corner.

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Samuel Chukwueze was denied by the crossbar with 15 minutes left on the clock as the home team finished the stronger of the two African who couldn’t be separated in what was an enthralling encounter.

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Bafana Bafana Nigeria Themba Zwane