February 04, (THEWILL) – In a remarkable penalty shootout, South African goalkeeper, Ronwen Williams, made four saves to guide his team to victory over Cape Verde in the quarter-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations on Saturday night. His heroics earned South Africa their first semi-final appearance since 2000, exactly 28 years after their only AFCON title win in 1996.
Manager Hugo Broos seems to be employing the same tactical approach that brought him success managing tournament underdogs Cameroon to their 2019 AFCON triumph. His team has relied on defensive solidarity, an unchanged starting XI, and long-range strikes from midfielder Teboho Mokoena. Mokoena tested Cape Verde’s goalkeeper Vozinha in the first half, but both sides remained cautious and scoreless at the break.
The second half brought more attacking intent. Cape Verde’s Garry Rodrigues broke through South Africa’s defence but missed the target with his shot. In a questionable decision, Cape Verde manager Bubista subbed off captain and all-time leading scorer Ryan Mendes with 25 minutes remaining, appearing to settle for penalties despite his team still creating chances.
The stalemate persisted through extra time despite excellent saves from Vozinha to deny South African chances. Penalties would decide who advanced to meet Nigeria in the semi-finals. Williams then took centre stage, saving Cape Verde’s first three penalties. After his teammates converted their kicks, Williams saved Cape Verde’s fifth attempt to complete the dramatic shootout victory.
South Africa will now attempt to overcome the Super Eagles as they draw on the spirit of their 1996 Cup-winning team to chase a place in the final for the first time since that triumph 28 years ago.
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Jude Obafemi is a versatile senior Correspondent at THEWILL Newspapers, excelling in sourcing, researching, and delivering sports news stories for both print and digital publications.