African champions-in-waiting Nigeria will only arrive in the city of Bouake on Tuesday, for their potentially-explosive first semi-final of the 34th Africa Cup of Nations against South Africa’s Bafana Bafana.
The three-time champions will continue their preparations for the encounter in Abidjan on Sunday and Monday, and will only have the official training on arrival in Cote d’Ivoire’s second city on Tuesday afternoon.
When Cote d’Ivoire hosted their only previous Africa Cup of Nations finals 40 years ago, Nigeria also played their semi-final match in the city of Bouake, against Egypt.
In what was easily ranked as the match of the tournament, the Pharaohs, led by Mahmoud Al-Khatib and including Taher Abou Zeid, Magdi Abdel Ghani, Ali Shehata, Ibrahim Youssef and goalkeeper Thabet El-Batal, led 2-0 before the half hour. But Stephen Keshi pulled one back from the penalty spot before half time, and then made the inch-perfect pull-out from which Bala Ali netted the equalizer in the second half. Nigeria won the ensuing penalty shootout 8-7.
Nigeria’s squad that day included goalkeeper Peter Rufai, Kingsley Paul, Yisa Sofoluwe, Sunday Eboigbe, Humphrey Edobor, Chibuzor Ehilegbu, Ademola Adeshina, Mudashiru Lawal, Henry Nwosu and Rashidi Yekini.