Another tough assignment for Nigeria as they face another COSAFA member South Africa in semis

* Bafana Bafana are the only team to reach the Côte d’Ivoire 2023 semi-final without playing extra time

* In their last semi-final appearance, South Africa suffered a 0-2 loss to the Super Eagles in 2000

Maravi Express

After earning qualification the hard way against Confederation of Southern African Football Association (COSAFA) member, Angola with. 2-0 victory, another tough fixture awaits them when they face a spirited South Africa in the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) Côte d’Ivoire 2023 semifinals on Wednesday.


The COSAFA side beat Mali 2-0, a team deemed that were favourites and the result has galvanized the coach Hugo Broos squad and equally after the heroics of goalkeeper, Ronwen Williams — whose top-class goalkeeping in open play and a remarkable four spot-kicks saves in the shootout sent Bafana Bafana through.

After the match, Williams gave credit to his entire teammates and technical staff for his heroic displays, saying: “It was tough — they played their part and it was my time to play my part.”

He earned the Man of the Match award: “This is not mine but it is for the collective. The staff, technical team and each player. This journey has been tough but we soldiered on as a team so I will accept this on behalf of each and every player in Bafana Bafana.”

Bafana Bafana return to the pinnacle, ending a 24-year absence from the AFCON semi-finals and at the Côte d’Ivoire 2023, they impressed, by eliminating Morocco, the 2022 FIFA World Cup semi-finalists and then adding Cape Verde, previously unbeaten.

Their journey continues in the semi-finals, where they face familiar foes — Nigeria and in their last semi-final appearance, South Africa suffered a 0-2 loss to the Super Eagles in 2000.

Nigeria ended what was Angola’s fairy-tale debut run but in the process forced Nigeria to earn their semifinal qualification the hard way against the Palancas Negras and now they have another COSAFA side to deal with.

The Super Eagles stand as the most experienced team at this stage — making their 16th appearance in an AFCON semi-final while  aiming for one thing; securing a spot in the final.


Despite entering the tournament as favorites, Nigeria faced challenges, notably with a drawn match against Equatorial Guinea. While the focus was on their attacking prowess, the defence proved resilient, conceding only one goal.

Coach José Peseiro’s men are the only team to reach the semi-final without playing extra time.

The other semifinal tussle meats DR Congo, who against Guinea in the quarterfinals, they displayed strength by overcoming an early goal by the Syli National to win 3-1.

That victory marked the fifth time in the history of DR Congo that they have reached the AFCON semi-finals and whenever DR Congo won the AFCON in 1968 and 1974, they eliminated the host country in the semi-final.

In 1968, they beat Ethiopia 2-3 after extra time, and in 1974, Egypt fell by the same scoreline and Côte d’Ivoire is well aware of that. On January 22 witnessed the Elephants making headlines globally as they were almost eliminated after a 0-4 defeat to Equatorial Guinea.

But they bounced back, eliminating the reigning African champions, Senegal and they had a dramatic victory against Mali in which Oumar Diakité’s last-minute goal secured their place in the semi-finals.

In their ninth semi-final appearance, Côte d’Ivoire and DR Congo set the stage for a rematch of the 2015 semi-final where the Elephants emerged victorious with a 3-1 scoreline in Equatorial Guinea.

Following their triumph through penalties, Côte d’Ivoire have won their first AFCON match in extra time since the 1992 quarterfinals, which they eventually won.—Reporting by CAFonline