Both sides were drawn in the same qualifying group, with South Africa shocking their hosts Nigeria at home 2-0. They had a 1-1 draw in Johannesburg on their way to the finals together.

Four years before, then title holders Nigeria missed the chance of defending their title when they were eliminated from the qualifiers group that also had South Africa as their rivals. Two draws (0-0 and 2-2) saw Bafana Bafana topping the group, and heading to Equatorial Guinea final tournament with Congo; Nigeria finished third.

But the finals themselves look deviant to the Super Eagles, who emerged victorious in the previous two encounters that gathered both teams in AFCON history. At home in 2000, Co-hosts Nigeria reached the final defeating South Africa 2-0 in Lagos, before finishing as runner-ups to eventual champions Cameroon. Four years later in Monastir, Tunisia the Super Eagles had an astounding 4-0 over South Africa in the group stage.

Head to Head AFCON history

10.02.2000 Lagos (Semifinal) Nigeria 2-0 South Africa

31.01.2004 Monastir (Group stage) Nigeria 4-0 South Africa