Jonty Mark

By Jonty Mark

Football Editor

Nigeria coach praises ‘fantastic’ Bafana

'Nigeria deserved (to win) but they (Bafana) also deserved it,' said Jose Peseiro

Nigeria coach Jose Peseiro said Bafana Bafana were the best team his side had played against at this Africa Cup of Nations so far, after the Super Eagles edged out South Africa 4-2 on penalties in the semifinals on Wednesday at the Stade la Paix de Bouake.

Bafana outplayed Nigeria in the first half and wasted several good chances before Nigeria took the lead with a William Troost-Ekong penalty.

South Africa equalised through Teboho Mokoena’s spot kick and Khuliso Mudau missed a gilt-edged chance to win the game in normal time, before Nigeria and Chippa United goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali proved the hero in the shootout.

“Congratulations to my players I think they deserve it, I think the Nigerian people deserve it,” said Peseiro after the match.

“This was a very good victory against a very difficult team.”

Peseiro believes the core of Mamelodi Sundowns players are a key reason Bafana were so good at this tournament.

At least seven Sundowns players started every game of this tournament for Hugo Broos’ South Africa

‘Difficult to beat’

“I think … the best organisation in the tournament belongs to this team (Bafana) because they have played together so many times, they play for Sundowns.”

“They created more problems for us than the other teams. They defended up and down, the put pressure on us, they managed the ball with quality.

“Like I suspected, this team was difficult to beat. And congratulations to the coach (Broos) too because I think he did a fantastic job.

“Nigeria deserved (to win) but they (Bafana) also deserved it. They did a fantastic job to fight until the final four. Just today on penalties our team were stronger.”

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