South Africa GK Williams opens up on what he told Omeruo, Aina, Ekong, Iheanacho before taking spot-kicks

Published: February 21, 2024
South Africa GK Williams opens up on what he told Omeruo, Aina, Ekong, Iheanacho before taking spot-kicks

South Africa goalkeeper Ronwen Williams has admitted that he attempted to gain an advantage by getting into the heads of the Nigeria penalty takers during the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations semifinal clash between the Super Eagles and Bafana Bafana on February 7.


In a dramatic game at Le Stade de la Paix de Bouaké, Jose Peseiro's  team were on the brink of keeping five consecutive clean sheets, only for South Africa midfielder Teboho Mokoena to score from the spot in the 90th minute to cancel out William Troost-Ekong's opener. 


It was 1-1 after 120 minutes so penalties had to determine who would be going through to the AFCON final.


With the exception of Super Eagles fans, everyone expected one winner should it come to a shootout due to the heroics of Bafana Bafana captain Williams who etched his name into the history books as the first goalkeeper to ever save four penalties in a single AFCON shootout as South Africa defeated Cape Verde 2-1 on penalties in the quarterfinals. 


Peseiro's tactical changes proved decisive as the three players he subbed in during extra time Kelechi Iheanacho, Terem Moffi and Kenneth Omeruo all converted their spot kicks. 


Just as Troost-Ekong did in regulation time, Moffi played his penalty through the middle to give Nigeria a 1-0 lead in the shootout, while Aina, Omeruo, Troost-Ekong and Iheanacho aimed for the right and left sides of the goal. 


It has now come to light that Williams tried to play mind games in order to gain an advantage over the four remaining Super Eagles penalty takers after Moffi converted straight down the middle. 


Speaking to CBS Sports Golazo, Williams said: "Obviously, it's either you are going one of three sides, it's either down the middle or left or right


"Now they don't want us to talk to the players anymore. 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. 

"It's just trying to gain an extra advantage, there's no pressure on the goalkeeper really, the pressure is on the taker.  It's so difficult now with the rules, you have to have one foot on the line. They try to make it easier for the takers."


Ronwen Williams won the 2023 AFCON Golden Glove award after posting the most clean sheets (5) and making the most saves (20).




Ifeanyi Emmanuel 



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