We are aware of Lorch’s threat: Okocha

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Nigerian legend Austin “Jay Jay” Okocha says their Super Eagles national team is aware of the threat posed by Bafana Bafana attacking player Thembinkosi Lorch.

South Africa will meet Nigeria in the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) quarterfinal clash in Cairo on Wednesday.

The Orlando Pirates star was Bafana’s secret weapon when he scored the only goal to eliminate the hosts and the favourites Egypt in Cairo on Saturday.

Lorch sat out all the three group matches against Ivory Coast, Namibia and Morocco.

The rivalry between South Africa and Nigeria is one of the fiercest on the continent, which also extends economically and politically.

Nigeria beat Bafana at the 2000 Afcon in Nigeria.

Bafana Bafana won the 1996 Afcon on home soil when the then reigning champions Nigeria were banned from the tournament.

Okocha says there is a great rivalry.

Bafana have never lost against Nigeria under the tutelage of Coach Stuart Baxter.

The first time they beat Nigeria 2-1 in the Nelson Mandela Cup in 2004, and recently they beat the Super Eagles 2-0 in the Afcon qualifier in 2017.

Okocha says it will be a different ball game.

The two nations have played against each other 13 times since SA was re-admitted into international football.

Nigeria have won six times, with Bafana prevailing only twice under Baxter with five draws.

The Super Eagles will have Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi, who is not highly rated in SA.

Okocha says he is a good goalkeeper.

Okocha had an illustrious career playing for teams such as Paris St Germain, Eintracht Frankfurt and Bolton Wanderers.

He also played 73 times for the national team scoring 14 goals.

Many experts says the Super Eagles have not had a natural playmaker since Okocha retired, and the 45-year-old agrees. – Report by Vincent Sitsula