Nigeria triumphs over South Africa in Nelson Mandela Challenge match
August 15, 2013
Since 1994, the Nelson Mandela Challenge soccer match has served as a showcase for South African footballers to take on visiting international teams to support the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund. The latest of these matches - the 18th since the event's inception, according to the South African Football Association - took place Aug. 14 at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, where Nigeria came to challenge the home team.
Agence France Press reports that in a game that started slow but became exciting once Nigeria began bringing a strong offense, the Nigerian team took home a 2-0 victory. As football is extremely important to both countries, the match's results are likely a topic of discussion among people from both nations, many of whom may be calling friends or loved ones with prepaid phone cards to talk about the outcome.
According to the news source, Nigerian Super Eagles striker Uche Nwofor emerged as a star in the game. The 21-year-old Nwofor, who ordinarily plays for Dutch Club VVV Venlo, earned his second victory in an international match by scoring both of Nigeria's goals. Nigerian coach Stephen Keshi deployed the striker somewhat later in the game, at the 45-minute mark, and Nwofor scored the Eagles' first goal against South Africa's Bafana Bafana four minutes after he hit the field.
Keshi's decision, according to AllAfrica, is what sealed the South African team's fate in this match. Before then, the game was much more static, but once Nwofor and fellow stars Victor Moses and Ahmed Musa entered the fray it was all but decided. Speaking to the source, Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund conceded having been outplayed by the opponent.
"I think it was an excellent game," Igesund said. "I thought the first half was a quite evenly matched situation. I think they became much better in the last third. They used the ball well. I think we gave the ball away quite cheaply in the second half."