Fragile pride despite defeat

Henry

The Super Eagles flew high for the umpteenth time against Bafana Bafana in an Africa Cup match.

Nigeria ended the two teams’ semi-final encounter at the Stade de la Paix on penalties on Saturday after the match ended in a draw (1-all).

The West African team’s captain, Willam Troost-Ekong, provided the first goal of the match, after which Teboho Mokoena let the proverbial cat loose in the Nigerian pigeonhole when his penalty attempt found the back of the net in the 90th minute.

Extra time spilled over into penalty time and Ronwen Williams – South Africa’s hero in the quarter-final against the Cape Verde Islands – this time could not thwart all of his opponents’ attempts.

Nigeria won the sniper duel 4-2 to qualify for Sunday’s final against Ivory Coast. In contrast, Bafana Bafana have to fight for third place against the Democratic Republic of the Congo on Saturday.

According to Hugo Broos, football can be a tough story.

“It’s hard to accept. Especially when you look at our performance and the fact that penalties put a stick in our place in the final. I think we were the better team in the first half and we had the most chances. However, Nigeria came back well in the second half,” said South Africa’s coach.

The 71-year-old Belgian is certainly in his element with his players’ performance.

“I am very, very proud – not only of today’s game, but also of their play throughout the tournament. Against the Cape Verde Islands we played poorly, but won the penalty shootout. Now we played very well again against Nigeria, but lost the showdown on penalties.”

“That’s how things go in football.”

The former Belgian player believes that Bafana Bafana have received a welcome injection of momentum.

“People are interested in South African football again and that is a very good thing.”

  • Goals:

Nigeria: William Troost-Econg

South Africa: Teboho Mokoena