South Africa coach Hugo Broos says he is proud of his side despite their heartbreaking semi-final loss to Nigeria on post-match penalties at the Africa Cup of Nations in the Ivory Coast.
William Troost-Ekong put Nigeria into the lead from the penalty spot midway through the second half, before South Africa earned a spot-kick of their own in the final minute of the 90 and it was converted by Teboho Mokoena.
The game went to penalties but it was, ironically, South Africa-based goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali at Chippa United who proved the hero for Nigeria as he saved twice in the shoot-out to guide the Super Eagles to a 4-2 victory.
Bafana Bafana had arguably created the better chances in the game and might have won it at the end of the 90 minutes had Khuliso Mudau not blazed over with the goal at his mercy.
“Football can be hard sometimes, when you see the performance of my team, 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,” Broos said.
“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.
“We created more chances which means if we had scored, we would have been in the final and not Nigeria.”
Broos, who confirmed he would like to stay in his role after the finals, says his players gave their all.
“It’s a big disappointment for everyone, we believe we played a very good game, not just (against Nigeria) but throughout the tournament. I’m proud of my players.”
Bafana Bafana now play DR Congo in the third-place play-off on Saturday, while Nigeria meet hosts Ivory Coast in Sunday’s final.