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South Africa edge DR Congo to clinch AFCON bronze

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South Africa
South Africa players celebrate with head coach Hugo broos. pHOTO/CAF
  • South Africa beat DR Congo 6-5 on post match penalties
  • The game ended in a 0-0 draw in regulation time
  • This is South Africa’s best AFCON finish since 2000

South Africa’s Bafana Bafana matched their best ever performance at the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in 24 years as they beat DR Congo 6-5 on penalties in the bronze medal match in Abidjan.

Goalkeeper Ronwen Williams was the hero once again, saving two penalties in the victory. The Mamelodi Sundowns goalkeeper, who saved four in the single shootout in the quarter final victory over Cape Verde made a crucial save, blocking Chancel Mbemba’s penalty with his feet to keep South Africa in the game after the first five shoot-outs.

With Teboho Mokoena seeing the first penalty come off the woodwork for South Africa, Congo were leading 4-3 going into the last of the five and would have won bronze had they scored.

However, Williams made a crucial save to give his side hope.

Earlier, Congo’s Samuel Moutoussamy, Omuneke Mfulu, Cedric Bakambu and Joris Kayembe had scored the first four, while after missing the first, Nkosinathi Sibisi, Thabang Monare, Aubrey Modiba and Zakhele Lepasa had scored the next four for Bafana.

In sudden death, Oswin Apollis scored the first for South Africa and Yoan Wissa responded. Next stepped up Siyanda Xulu and he netted and it was the turn of Williams to save his team once again.

The shotstopper stepped up and saved Meshack Ellia’s kick to win the game for South Africa.

In regular time, DR Congo should blame themselves for failing to win, as they had numerous scoring chances but couldn’t take them.

South Africa survive onslaught from DRC

South Africa

South Africa players celebrate with Ronwen Williams. PHOTO/CAF

In the eighth minute, Silas Katompa broke through on goal, one on one with Williams, but his attempts at some stepovers was futile with Williams managing to pickpocket the ball off his feet.

Evidence Makgopa and Milhali Mayembela had some good chances for South Africa in the first half, the former seeing his long ranger go over while Mayembela had his saved.

Congo had more clear cut chances in the second half, but they were blunt infront of goal, missing up to three clear chances.

South Africa’s Hugo Broos praised his side for their resilience, especially putting in mind their heartbreaking defeat to Nigeria in the semis.

“I said after Nigeria match that I was proud of this team, and I think today people can see why I say I am proud of this team. We were not fresh but when you see the mentality in that group, it is impressive,” Broos said, speaking at the post match press-conference.

He praised the players for the effort they put in, and believes they leave the tournament better than they came in.

“The boys did very well. They showed great mentality. They tried to do what I asked, and I understand that it was difficult. It shows that we if we have problems, we can count on those who are on the bench,” the coach said.

Desabre satisfied with DRC performance at AFCON

DR Congo

DR Congo players at the AFCON. PHOTO/CAF

He adds; “I was satisfied with players on the pitch, but I was even more satisfied with those on the bench. They were encouraging them and pushing them. From this, you know that you have 23 guys who want one thing and that is winning.”

Meanwhile, DR Congo coach Sebastian Desabre was disappointed that they could not finish their chances, but says the team leaves the tournament with many positive lessons.

Desabre says that though they leave Ivory Coast without a medal around their necks, they leave with their heads held high.

“We wanted to finish the competition well, but this does not affect the beautiful competition we had during this AFCON and what the players gave during these last few weeks. We are not third but fourth because we couldn’t finish the chances we created,” Desabre said after the match.

Congo had more than enough chances to win the game in regulation time, but wasted their opportunities, an area that Desabre says they will look to improve moving forward.

“My takeaway from today is that when we look at the boys play, we can see that they give 100% even when they are tired. With this fighting spirit on the pitch, we can get things done. We are very happy with how we have performed at this AFCON. This is a team that was not there in the previous edition so we can be proud of progress,” the Frenchman said.

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