- Nigeria celebrates victory at the 2024 AFCON semi-finals
- Bobo Nwabali helps Nigeria beat South Africa 4-2 on penalties
- Nigeria will be at the finals of AFCON playing between Ivory Coast
Nigeria’s national team is a happy lot celebrating their win after a match against South Africa at the end of the Africa Cup of Nations 2024 semi-final football match which was held at the Stade de la Paix in Bouke on February 7 2024.
Bobo Nwabali helped his team with two saves and they beat South Africa 4-2 on penalties, paving the way for them to play at the AFCON finals where they will face their rivals Ivory Coast.
During the first half, none of the teams had scored and on their return, their captain William Troost-Ekong scored from the penalty spot. It was an interesting game as each team hoped to be the winner and we could tell from South African defender Khuliso Mudau pulling all his defensive skills.
On the other hand, Victor Osimhen who plays for the Super Eagles was in everyone’s eye as most people expected him to score several goals. However, the team struggled to score throughout the competition. His teammate Alex Iwobi was also on the pitch and his effort was evident.
However, the player of the match turned out to be Bobo Nwabali when he helped Nigeria beat South Africa on two penalties in the shoot-out. Both teams played tough defense throughout the match resulting in a low-scoring affair.
Neither of the teams managed to score in extra time so the match was decided by a penalty shootout, Nigeria emerging the winners, thanks to a crucial save by their goalkeeper Maduka Okoye on the final South African penalty.
South African Players in the AFCON Semi-finals
The South African national team is best known as Bafana Bafana, a nickname that means ‘The Boys’. South Africa put up a strong defensive performance throughout the match and they disrupted Nigeria’s attacking opportunities.
Their equalizing penalty late in regulation time showed the resilience and composure of the players but unfortunately, they fell short in the penalty shootout though their performance was highly commendable.
Their goalkeeper Ronwen Williams made several crucial saves throughout the match and this kept the team in the game. Their defensive line was led by experienced campaigners like Thulani Hatshwayo and Thapelo Moreno who displayed a good organization.
Midfielder Teboho Mokoena showcased his versatility by controlling the midfield and converting the crucial penalty to equalize while Percy Tau and Evidence Makgopa were kept relatively quiet but still posed a threat on the counter-attack, their tactics effectively neutralized Nigeria’s attacking threats and frustrated their possession-based approach.
South Africa national team manager Hugo Broos played a crucial role in instilling a disciplined and pragmatic approach and their overall performance demonstrated their defensive capabilities despite falling short of reaching the final.
Super Eagles Players at the AFCON semi-finals
The Super Eagles were well prepared despite facing a strict attack from their rivals. Maduka Okoye played a crucial role in the victory with a decisive save in the penalty shootout while captain William Troost-Etong scored the team’s only goal from the penalty spot and coordinated the team throughout.
Ola Aina experienced a full-back on the right side although he missed his penalty in the shootout. Victor Osimhen had a frustrating game upfront, unable to convert his chances effectively while Ademola Lookman was lively and dangerously on the wing, causing problems for the South African defence.
Kelechi Iheanacho came on as a substitute and played a role in creating late chances together with Paul Onuacho. The players played a crucial role in the match, each defending his position to their best.
Nigeria to Play at the AFCON Finals
Nigeria’s victory in the semi-finals has already given them a chance to go ahead and play in the finals. The final match will be between Nigeria and Ivory Coast and it will be held on February 11 2024 at the Olympic Stadium of Ebimpe in Cote d’Ivoire.
This will be an exciting moment as both teams have strong squads and have already faced each other in the group stage, where Nigeria was declared the winner.