AFCON 2023: Semifinal against Nigeria will be different ‘kettle of fish’ , says S/African coach

“When we have a goalkeeper who stops four penalty kicks, this is not luck but a lot of hard work."

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AFCON 2023, Semifinal, against Nigeria. different ‘kettle of fish',  S/African coachHugo Bruce, South African coach, says he will approach the semi-final match against Nigeria differently from Bafana Bafana’s style in their quarter-final game against Cape Verde on Saturday.

BRANDPOWER reports that Goalkeeper Ronwen Williams was the hero as South Africa beat Cape Verde 5-3 on penalties following a goalless 120 minutes to advance to the Africa Cup of Nations semi-finals.

After an impressive four penalty saves by Williams, Bafana Bafana secured their place in the semi-finals for the first time since 2000 where they will meet Nigeria.

Bruce told newsmen at a post-match conference that the game against Nigeria would be an entirely ]different ‘kettle of fish.’

“The semi-final match will be different against Nigeria, which has good players like (Ademola) Lookman.

“We will not lose focus. The players will be in good condition, so we need to rest and recover to start our preparation,” he said.

He noted that the pressure of qualifying for the semi-finals for the first time in AFCON made the game tougher, adding that winning the game by penalty shootout wasn’t a fluke.

“When we got to the penalty shootout, it was a special thing for the players, because during training they were scoring them.

“When we have a goalkeeper who stops four penalty kicks, this is not luck but a lot of hard work.

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“There was a lot of pressure in the match. Everyone wanted to qualify.

“This match was unlike the previous ones. We did not show the same performance as we had in previous matches,” he said.

He also noted that not many people in South Africa believed in the team, saying that he was proud of what his boys had achieved so far.

“In spite of all the doubts, we believed in it, and the players believed in themselves as well.

“Reaching the semi-finals is in itself a good thing for South African football,” Bruce said.

 

Rivalry Renewed

South Africa’s Bafana Bafana will renew their football rivalry with Nigeria’s Super Eagles in the semi-final of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) on Feb. 7 at Stade De Bouake, Cote d’Ivoire, at 6.00 p.m. Nigerian time.

BRANDPOWER reports that Nigeria and South Africa have met 15 times in competitive football since 1992.

The Super Eagles have won eight of such encounters, while the Bafana Bafana won two, with both teams drawing on five occasions.

The Bafana Bafana secured their place in the semi-finals for the first time since 2000.

Nigeria had earlier secured passage to the semi-finals of the AFCON after a hard-fought 1-0 win over giant-killers Angola in Abidjan on Friday.

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The Super Eagles were eagerly waiting to face the winner of Saturday’s quarter-final between Cape Verde and South Africa for a place in the semi-final.

BRANDPOWER reports that Goalkeeper Ronwen Williams was the hero as South Africa beat Cape Verde 5-3 on penalties following a goalless 120 minutes to advance to the AFCON semi-finals.

After a tense last eight clash ended 0-0 at the Charles Konan Banny Stadium in Yamoussoukro on Saturday night, Williams remarkably saved four spot-kicks in the shootout to send Bafana Bafana through.

Both sides started brightly in an open first half, but stellar defending and top-class goalkeeping from Williams and Cape Verde’s Vozinha kept the game goalless at the break.

The second half followed a similar pattern as the teams traded blows in search of the breakthrough.

However, a combination of desperation and brilliant defending saw numerous chances go begging.

Cape Verde almost stole it in added time when Gelson Tavares pounced on a deep ball only to smash his shot off the bar with Williams getting a hand to it for a 0-0 scoreline after 90 minutes and extra time.

The additional 30 minutes brought more chances, with South Africa’s Fagrie Lakay forcing a superb save from Vozinha.

But the deadlock remained to send the quarter-final into penalties which saw South Africa emerge victorious at the end to dump out Cape Verde from the ongoing 2023 AFCON tournament.

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The tourney which began on Jan. 13 in Cote d’Ivoire will end on Feb. 11.