South Africa coach Hugo Broos has admitted difficulties in accepting losing to Nigeria in the semi-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast on Wednesday.
In the fixture at the Stade de la Paix in Bouake, it was the Super Eagles who booked their place in the final after a dramatic penalty shootout earned them a 4-2 win following a captivating 1-1 draw over 120 minutes.
Nigeria looked to have won it when Victor Osimhen scored late on, only for VAR to instead award South Africa a lifeline penalty. Bafana Bafana converted to force extra time before penalties ensued.
There, goalkeeping heroics from Stanley Nwabali gave Nigeria the edge in the shootout. His two saves booked the Super Eagles’ passage to Sunday’s final.
“Football can be hard sometimes, when you see the performance of my team today, and then there is penalties, and then you lose the penalties and you are not in the finals, it’s hard to accept that because we play very good game today,” said Broos.
“I think we were the best team in the first half, we got the best chances, Nigeria didn’t have any chance. Second half they have few chances which resulted in a goal and we changed something tactically, and we could comeback.”
He added: “We created more chances which means if we had scored, we would have been in the final and not Nigeria.”
The Belgian tactician hailed his team for what has been a great tournament for them by saying: “It’s a big disappointment for everyone, we believe we played a very good game, not just today but throughout the tournament. I’m proud of my players, the disappointment is this but the proudness is that.”
South Africa will now face D.R Congo in the third place playoff on Saturday, February 10.