Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: Sport: Football: Africa: Cup of Nations: Cup News
Front Page 
World 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Sport 
Football 
Cricket 
Rugby Union 
Rugby League 
Tennis 
Golf 
Motorsport 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
Audio/Video 
banner Friday, 11 February, 2000, 15:01 GMT
South Africa prove good losers

South Africa were outplayed by the Super Eagles


By Eniwoke Ibagere in Lagos

The South African camp have showered praises on Nigeria's Super Eagles, calling them "African champions" after losing 2-0 to the tournament co-hosts in the African Nations Cup semi-final match.


They are the best African side at the moment
SA goalkeeper Andre Arendse
"Let's be honest, the Nigerians are truly African champions in every respect," said South African defender Pierre Issa.

"Granted we played badly, but the Nigerians have a complete team and they are the best African side at the moment," said Andre Arendse, South Africa's goalkeeper in Thursday's match.

Coach Trott Moloto added: "No doubt about it, we're second best. The brilliance of (Tijani) Babangida and the team was hard for us to accept."

A brace of goals, in the first-half, from the diminutive and speedy right-winger Babangida won Nigeria the match.

Settling a score

Doubt has consistently been cast by Nigeria on the real value of South Africa's victory in the 1996 Cup of Nations and their second-placed position in 1998.

The Super Eagles soared to new heights
Nigeria's absence from the 1996 event hosted by South Africa, after a diplomatic row between the former leaders of both countries, they said took much of the prestige away from the event.

And the Confederation of African Football eventually banned the Nigerians from the 1998 finals in Burkina Faso.

The Nigerians, widely regarded as having the leading team in Africa, are now claiming that this victory makes them "true" continental champions.

"You can't dispute the fact that we've got better quality players and the best team in Africa," says Nigerian midfielder Mutiu Adepoju.

Babangida said: "If people say we have the best team in Africa then we accept, and it's true anyway. But this victory and others we've achieved in this tournament show we can beat any team."

He praised Dutch coach Jo Bonfrere for mapping out the "right strategy" to beat the South Africans.

"The kudos should go to coach Bonfrere. When he told me I'm on the left wing, I was speechless. I complained that I'm a right winger but he maintained it was part of our tactics and see how it paid off.

Nigeria play Sunday's final against Cameroon, 3-0 winners over Tunisia in the other semi-final match in Thursday in Accra.
Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
Cup of Nations 2000
All the news and action

Venue Guide

Fixtures and Tables

Latest Tables

FOLLOW YOUR TEAM:

See also:
10 Feb 00 |  Cup News
Eagles fly into final
30 Jan 00 |  Cup News
Home from home in Kumasi
06 Feb 00 |  Cup News
Early exit for Ghana
Links to other Cup News stories are at the foot of the page.