Nigeria and South Africa clashed in the semi-final of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations on Wednesday, February 7, 2024, in a match that was more than just a football game.
The two countries have a long-standing rivalry that extends to various aspects of their culture, economy, and politics. One of the most recent sources of contention was the music scene, where the Nigerian genre of Afrobeats and the South African genre of Amapiano competed for dominance and recognition.
Afrobeats is a fusion of West African music styles, such as highlife, fuji, and Afrobeat, pioneered by the legendary Fela Anikulapo Kuti. It is characterized by its upbeat rhythms, catchy melodies, and Afrocentric lyrics, often sung in local languages.
Some of the most popular Afrobeats artists include Burna Boy, Davido, Wizkid, Tiwa Savage, and Rema.
Amapiano is a subgenre of South African house music that emerged in the 2010s. It is characterized by its use of piano melodies, deep basslines, and a relaxed, laid-back vibe. It is a blend of deep house, jazz, and lounge music, with influences from Kwaito, Bacardi, and Tribal house.
Some of the most popular Amapiano artists include Kabza de Small, DJ Maphorisa, Focalistic, Tyla, and Young Stunna.
The musical rivalry between the two countries was intensified after the recent-concluded 66th Grammy Awards, which saw South African singer Tyla beat Nigerian stars Burna Boy, Davido, Asake, and Tems to win the Best African Music Performance award.
This sparked a lot of debate and banter on social media, with the South Africans claiming bragging rights and the Nigerians seeking vengeance.
The AFCON semi-final match was seen as an opportunity to settle the score between the two countries, not only on the football pitch, but also on the musical front.
Thousands of Nigerian, South African and Ivorian fans, amongst others were in the stands at the Stade de la Paix in Bouake, Ivory Coast, including the Vice President of Nigeria, Kashim Shettima, who came with flags, jerseys, and speakers, playing their favorite tunes to cheer their teams.
Nigeria took the lead in the second half when Captain Troost-Ekong scored a penalty but South Africa equalized just before the final whistle with a penalty also forcing the game into extra time and then penalties.
After an exhilarating penalty shoot out, the Super Eagles emerged (4-2), sealing the most-coveted ticket to the final.
They will play against either the host nation, Cote d’Ivoire or Democratic Republic of Congo on Sunday, February 11.
The match was a showcase of the best of African football and music, as Nigeria and South Africa demonstrated their talent, diversity, and unity. While Afrobeats may have beaten Amapiano on the day, both genres are winners in the eyes and ears of many Africans and beyond.
Following the win by Nigeria, banters have begun flying, and below are some of the reactions online:
Insisting on Nigeria’s dominance in the music industry over South@iamaleshinloye wrote, “The battle is done .
“We won the Amapiano battle
@OlorunfemiA2 wrote, “They can take there Grammy award 😜 we are cool with the cup.”
@kashimUsman9 wrote, “Becus una get grammy that does not mean you will get the cup 😹😹💔💔.”
@Shagzzy7 wrote, “Amapiano argument is settled now.”
@havillah_media wrote, “We killed the amapiano on the field 🏑.”
Echoing his confidence in the Nigerian team, @cybersploit9 wrote, “NIGERIA JUST WON THE SEMIFINALS!
“As I have told you all repeatedly;
Nigeria will win the AFCON this year.
No matter who we play,
No matter when we play,
No matter where they play,
Nigeria will win the AFCON 2024!
“Retweet if you now believe!!!!!!!!
@JoyyXyy wrote, “Waitin you expect from country were start year with “no gree for anybody”.
In another tweet, @cybersploit9 threw a jab at South Africa’s Grammy Award winning artist, Tyla, writing, “That water wey Tyla sing,
Make the South African footballers go drink am. They will need it.”
Relating Super Eagles goalkeeper’s name to the win, @Jerrynduvna wrote, “Imagine South Africa wan beat Nigeria for night. When we get nwabali (child of night) dey play 😁.”