AFCON 2023: Ronwen Williams Discloses Conversation With Nigerian Players During Penalty Shootout

AFCON 2023: Ronwen Williams Discloses Conversation With Nigerian Players During Penalty Shootout

Ero Samson
updated at February 22, 2024 at 12:01 PM
In this article:
CAF Africa Cup of Nations logo
Ronwen Williams logo
R. Williams
Mamelodi Sundowns logoGSouth Africa logo
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South Africa
South Africa
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Super Eagles
South Africa
  • Nigeria faced off against South Africa during the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations
  • The crunch semi-final fixture needed penalties to separate both teams on the night
  • Ronwen Williams has disclosed what he said to Nigerian players during the shoutout

The 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) treated fans to a captivating semi-final showdown between Nigeria's Super Eagles and South Africa's Bafana Bafana.

This match, undoubtedly one of the tournament's highlights, showcased two defensively adept teams vying for a spot in the final.

AFCON, CAF, Super Eagles, South Africa, Ronwen Williams
Ronwen Williams stops a penalty kick during the Africa Cup of Nations quarter-final match between Cape Verde and South Africa. image: Franck Fife.
Source: Getty Images

However, the game unfolded in a manner far different from what many had anticipated. William Troost-Ekong's early goal was cancelled by a 90th-minute penalty from midfielder, Teboho Mokoena, sending the game into extra time. With both teams deadlocked, the match headed to penalties.

Ahead of the shootout, few expected Nigeria to prevail, largely due to the penalty heroics of Bafana Bafana's goalkeeper, Ronwen Williams.

The 32-year-old had saved four penalties in the quarter-final clash against Cape Verde and was expected to shine again. However, things took an unexpected turn, as the Mamelodi Sundowns star failed to stop any of the five penalties he faced.

Following the spectacle, Williams has reflected on the tactics he employed to unsettle the Super Eagles players, during the shootout.

Williams on his penalty tactics

In an interview with CBS Sport Golazo, the goalkeeper emphasised his strategy for unsettling the Nigerian penalty-takers.

"I try to push the limits, so I go up to them and try to tell them where they are going so that at least I have cut out one side. Like I saw the Nigerians, all of them were going straight then I started telling them that they are going to go straight, then they started hitting to the side."

Despite Williams' best effort, Nigeria emerged victorious with a 4-2 win on penalties, securing a spot in the final.

However, Williams was honoured with the Goalkeeper of the Tournament award for his outstanding performance throughout.

Peseiro wants Osimhen’s teammate for Nigeria

Sports Brief highlighted in another report that Super Eagles coach, Jose Peseiro, wants Napoli star, Michael Folorunsho, to play for Nigeria.

The 25-year-old, currently on loan at Hellas Verona, has been in sensational form since the start of the season. The versatile midfielder recently scored a goal-of-the-season contender against Juventus.

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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).