The dynamic Nigerian duo of William Troost-Ekong and Kelechi Iheanacho expressed admiration for Bafana Bafana’s performance in a closely contested semi-final clash at the 2023 AFCON.
Despite securing a hard-fought victory through a penalty shootout and securing a spot in the final, the Super Eagles’ players acknowledged the quality and resilience displayed by their South African opponents.
The Nail-Biting Encounter:
In a thrilling encounter that ended in a 1-1 draw after extra time, the two African powerhouses battled fiercely, eventually heading to a nerve-wracking penalty shootout.
Troost-Ekong, donning the captain’s armband for the Super Eagles, made a significant impact by converting a penalty early in the second half, giving Nigeria the lead.
However, Teboho Mokoena from Bafana Bafana leveled the terms from the spot late in the game.
The subsequent penalty shootout saw Troost-Ekong successfully converting his kick, while Mokoena’s attempt was thwarted by Chippa United goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali, guiding Nigeria to the final against Ivory Coast.
Iheanacho’s Praise for Bafana Bafana:
Leicester City star Kelechi Iheanacho commended Bafana Bafana’s journey to the AFCON semi-finals, emphasizing their tactical awareness and execution.
Recognizing their effectiveness in specific areas of the pitch, Iheanacho praised the South African side, stating, “They’re a very good side. They played very well, they’ve been together for a long time, they know themselves. I think they’re a wonderful team.” He extended well wishes to Bafana Bafana for the upcoming third and fourth-place play-off against DR Congo.
Troost-Ekong Acknowledges Tough Battle:
Captain William Troost-Ekong admitted that the semi-final clash was “a difficult game,” highlighting South Africa’s fantastic performance.
He acknowledged the heart and skill demonstrated by Bafana Bafana, adding further weight to the sentiment that the encounter was a true test of both teams’ capabilities.
Bafana Bafana’s Impressive AFCON Journey:
South Africa’s remarkable journey in the AFCON tournament has left an indelible mark. Despite an initial setback with a 2-0 loss to Mali, they bounced back with a resounding 4-0 victory against Namibia.
A crucial draw against Tunisia secured their place in the Last 16, where they triumphed 2-0 over Morocco. Goalkeeper Ronwen Williams emerged as the hero in the quarterfinal, saving four penalties and propelling Bafana Bafana to the semi-finals.
Coach Broos’ Pride:
Coach Hugo Broos showered his charges with praise, expressing immense satisfaction with their performance. He stated, “They give me a lot of satisfaction.
I’m proud as a coach to be a coach of that team. So the rest the future will tell us.” Broos acknowledged the positive strides made by Bafana Bafana in the tournament and hinted at a promising future for the team.Share on Facebook «||» Share on Twitter «||» Share on Reddit «||» Share on LinkedIn