Super Eagles coach Stephen Keshi believes Wednesday’s tie between Nigeria and South Africa will turn out to be a high-powered friendly encounter.
Nigeria’s Eagles tackle Bafana Bafana at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in honour of former South Africa President, Nelson Mandela.
Ahead of the Nelson Mandela Challenge, Keshi has described the elder statesman as the father of all Africans and a perfect example of an icon.
“It’s a good feeling when you get a call about participating for Mandiba’s game. It’s a great pleasure,” Keshi added.
“Once we got the call, I said yes. I will play and we are glad that they choose us.
“My image of Mandiba when I was growing up was someone that will go out of his way to fight for his people, the sacrifice and the personal challenges notwithstanding.
“He looked at the future and with age, preferred to end the crisis with peace. He always reminded me of Mahatma Ghandi of India. It was love that brought the people of South Africa to freedom.”
In their last seven meetings, Nigeria have won five, while South Africa have only been victorious on one occassion- that victory being the 2-1 win in the 2004 edition of the Nelson Mandela Challenge.
Keshi insisted that the high profile encounter will provide both teams the opportunity to prove their mettle and status.
“It is supposed to be a friendly game but national pride and the history and continental status of both countries makes this a humdinger of a clash.
“Bafana Bafana is a good team to play, and I have fond memories of the two games we played with them when they were first re-admitted by Fifa at the start of our USA 94 World Cup qualifying campaign, their passion was unbelievable,” added Keshi.
Also Keshi believes Bafana has come a long way and thinks Gordon Igesund is building and therefore looks forward to a thrilling match.
“We’ll see when we get to the field on Wednesday,” he said.
The team trained for the first time last night at the King Zelithini Stadium in Umlazi, south of Durban. Victor Moses and John Mikel Obi are expected to arrive on Tuesday morning.
(Materials from supersport.com were used on this article.)