Thursday, May 23, 2024

It’s Nigeria Against Familiar Foes, South Africa At The Semi-Finals

On the 28th anniversary of South Africa’s first and only success at the Africa Cup of Nations, they again move to the semi-finals after edging out Cape Verde 2-1 on  penalties after a goalless full time and extra time at the Stade Charles Konan Banny de Yamoussoukro.

And so, Bafana Bafana are in the semi-finals for the first time since 2000 when they lost to Nigeria at that same stage.

Now it’s going to be encore as both Nigeria and South Africa will again clash at the semi-finals. The hero of South Africa’s exploits in the match against Cape Verde was Ronwen Williams who has now had four straight clean sheets and also saved three penalty kicks.

‘ Nigeria will beat us ‘- Former South Africa star Junior Khanye casts doubt on Bafana Bafana’s AFCON campaign ahead of semi-final clash

Former South Africa under-23 star Junior Khanye says he expects Nigeria to beat Bafana Bafana in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) semi-final clash on Wednesday.

Khanye expressed doubts about Bafana Bafana’s chances vs Nigeria in the semi-finals.

Bafana Bafana secured a penalty shootout victory against Cape Verde in the quarter-finals, one Khanye believes was subpar, and luck played a significant role in the win.

He anticipates that Nigeria will pose a significant challenge, stating that the upcoming match against the Super Eagles will be a wake-up call for the South African team.

Khanye acknowledged the crucial role played by captain Ronwen Williams, who saved four penalties in the shootout against Cape Verde.

South Africa secured a spot in the semi-finals after a dramatic penalty shootout against Cape Verde.

However, he emphasized that Bafana Bafana’s defensive approach and overall performance were lacking in the quarter-final encounter.

Expressing concern about the upcoming clash with Nigeria, Khanye said, “Nigeria is going to beat us, and that’s when we will get a wake-up call. I’m not saying this because I’m being negative, but it’s just me stating facts.”

While Khanye’s comments echo similar sentiments from Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos, who admitted that the team’s performance against Cape Verde was below par, the ex-Kaizer Chiefs star remains pessimistic about South Africa’s chances in the tournament.

Junior Khanye
Junior Khanye

“We have to be realistic, we were not at our best,” Khanye told iDiski TV.

“We didn’t play well. We could have lost that game. But, luckily, we were very lucky. And listen, I’m saying we were very lucky, but we also need to give to Ronwen Williams.

“He was the star of the show and saved those penalties very well, we have to give credit to him for that. But, when it comes to playing, we were terrible. We were defending too much,” he added.

“I think yesterday’s game was our worst at the tournament when I look at the other matches. I don’t think that we were at our best, any team can beat us. Look at the chances that Cape Verde created, it’s all luck.

“Any of those chances could have easily gone in. But again, we have to say thank you for our defence. They did a very important job despite Cape Verde creating chances. It’s over for us. As I said, we are lucky to be where we are at the moment,” continued the ex-Kaizer Chiefs star.

“Nigeria is going to beat us, and that’s when we will get a wake-up call. I’m not saying this because I’m being negative, but it’s just me stating facts.

“I love Bafana Bafana, and I want to see them doing well. But, this is our last game, those guys [Nigeria] are going to punish us.”

With two days of training remaining before the crucial match against Nigeria, Bafana Bafana will need to address their shortcomings to enhance their prospects in the Afcon campaign. The semi-final clash is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, Febuary 7, 2024 in Bouake.

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