AFCON 2023: Nigerian Forward Downplays Ronwen Williams' Penalty Heroics Ahead of South Africa Clash

AFCON 2023: Nigerian Forward Downplays Ronwen Williams' Penalty Heroics Ahead of South Africa Clash

Ero Samson
updated at February 13, 2024 at 11:54 AM
In this article:
CAF Africa Cup of Nations logo
Nigeria logo
Super Eagles logo
Super Eagles
South Africa
South Africa logo
South Africa
South Africa
Ronwen Williams logo
R. Williams
Mamelodi Sundowns logoGSouth Africa logo
Cape Verde logo
Cape Verde
Cape Verde
Samuel Chukwueze logo
S. Chukwueze
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  • Nigeria are poised to face South Africa in the semi-finals of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations
  • Goalkeeper, Ronwen Williams has continued to generate discussion for his penalty heroics
  • A Super Eagles forward has downplayed the goalkeeper’s penalty skills ahead of the game

The 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) continues to captivate fans, and one of the latest standouts from the showpiece in Ivory Coast was the penalty heroics of South Africa’s shot-stopper, Ronwen Williams.

In a display of talent and nerves of steel, the 32-year-old secured Bafana Bafana's spot in the semi-finals through his goalkeeping skills, thwarting four out of five spot kicks in the shootout win against Cape Verde.

AFCON, Super Eagles, Ronwen Williams, South Africa, Nigeria, Samuel Chukwueze
South Africa goalkeeper, Ronwen Williams stops a penalty kick during the Africa Cup of Nations quarter-final match against Cape Verde. Image: Franck Fife.
Source: Getty Images

This remarkable achievement places Williams in esteemed company alongside legends such as Harald Schumacher (Germany), Sergio Goycochea (Argentina), and Dominik Livakovic (Croatia), who achieved similar feats in the 1982, 1990, and 2022 World Cups, respectively.

Such unprecedented excellence has sparked vigorous discussions and excitement throughout the continent's footballing landscape.

However, amid the flurry of reactions and astonishment surrounding Williams' stellar performance, a Nigerian forward has sought to downplay his heroic efforts, attributing them to good fortune.

Nigeria forward on Williams penalty heroics

Super Eagles forward, Samuel Chukwueze is apparently not swayed by the penalty abilities of the goalkeeper, per a chat with media outlet HotSports:

"Penalty is a game of luck, anybody can miss. It's the one he saw that he saved. I'm not saying he's not a good goalkeeper, actually [he is] a good goalkeeper, but the most important thing is for us to win in 90 minutes or 120 minutes. We will win without going into penalties."

Emphasising his lack of concern regarding the goalkeeper's abilities, the AC Milan star stated:

"It's not about fear; it's about ensuring we're in a favourable position. We've analysed their strengths and weaknesses; they're strong opponents, but we'll give our all to emerge victorious."

Chukwueze reiterated that the Super Eagles must perform at their peak to overcome a defensively resilient South African team boasting four consecutive clean sheets:

"It's bound to be a challenging match. Bafana Bafana are a strong side. We must put in maximum effort, building on our consistent performance since the group stage. We've displayed good form, remaining unbeaten thus far."

In their previous AFCON meeting between both teams, Chukwueze netted a goal in under 30 minutes against Williams.

The crucial goal propelled the Super Eagles to a 2-1 victory over Bafana Bafana, securing their spot in the semi-finals of the 2019 AFCON. Now, both teams are set to reignite their rivalry at the Stade de Bouake on February 7.

Nwabali speaks on pre-match ritual

Sports Brief also previously stated that Nigeria goalkeeper, Stanley Nwabali, outlined his rituals before a game, ahead of the upcoming clash against South Africa.

The 27-year-old also discussed his footballing role model leading up to the crucial match, with a spot in the continental competition's final on the line.

Ero Samson photo
Ero Samson
Samson Ero is a sports journalist with a track record of over five years in the Nigerian media industry. He graduated from Nigerian Institute of Journalism (2021-2023).