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‘They made my job 50% easier’: Williams salutes two coaches for Bafana heroics

Bafana Bafana goalkeeper Ronwen Williams saves the fifth penalty of the shootout during the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations quarterfinal match against Cape Verde at Charles Konan Stadium in Yamoussoukro, Cote d'Ivoire on 3 February 2024.
Bafana Bafana goalkeeper Ronwen Williams saves the fifth penalty of the shootout during the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations quarterfinal match against Cape Verde at Charles Konan Stadium in Yamoussoukro, Cote d'Ivoire on 3 February 2024.
Image: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Bafana Bafana hero Ronwen Williams singled out two members of the coach Hugo Broos’ technical team who he said made his job in the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) quarterfinal penalty shoot-out against Cape Verde a lot easier.

South Africa captain Williams was magnificent in the 2-1 shoot-out win (after a 0-0 scoreline after extra time), saving an unheard-of four out of Cape Verde's five kicks to steer Bafana to their first Afcon semifinal in 24 years.   

South Africa meet old arch-rivals Nigeria in the battle for place in Sunday's final.   

Williams saved three consecutive penalties by Bebe, Willy Smedo and Laros Duarte at Stade Charles Konan Banny in Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast before being beaten by Bryan Teixeria. The Bafana skipper also saved Cape Verde’s fifth kick by Patrick Adrande to win the game for South Africa.   

Teboho Mokoena and Mothobi Mvala scored for Bafana in the shoot-out while Zakhele Lepasa and Aubrey Modiba missed.

Williams saluted Bafana video analyst Sinesipho Mali and goalkeeper-coach Grant Johnson — the keeper who won the league with Manning Rangers in the inaugural Premiership season in 1996-97 — for helping him be ready for Cape Verde’s spot-kickers.    

“The analysts prepared me. They cut so many videos and studied the clips. I studied them too and tried to pick things up,” Williams said.   

“Ja, it’s not [only] me. I give credit to the analyst and the goalkeeper coach too. They sent me so many clips, my phone is full of penalty clips. So credit to the analyst for doing the work because it’s not easy to get footage for some of these players because they play all over the world.   

“Big up to the analysts for preparing the clips for me to watch and study. They made my job 50% easier because I had an idea of where the players were going to shoot the ball.” 

Williams was not only sublime in the penalties. He also produced a fine save onto the woodwork when substitute Gilson Benchimol was through one-on-one in the fifth minute of normal time stoppage time.   

The South Africa skipper applauded the will to fight until the end from his team, who reached their first Afcon semi since 2000.     

“The fight and desire we had in the team to fight for 120 minutes, that’s what matters to me,” Williams said.   

“To see the brotherhood out there, the fight and the will to keep going, that's what matters to me and what is important.   

“So, I receive this [man of the match award] on behalf of all the players, the technical staff and everybody that has been on this journey with us.”


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