Once again, captain and goalkeeper Ronwen Williams emerged as the hero as South Africa clinched victory over the Democratic Republic of Congo 6-5 in a penalty shootout during the Africa Cup of Nations third-place play-off on Saturday.
Following a goalless draw in Abidjan, Williams showcased his prowess by denying Chancel Mbemba and Meschack Elia from the spot, securing the bronze medal for Bafana Bafana in Ivory Coast.
Siyanda Xulu’s successful conversion preceded Elia’s failed attempt, sealing South Africa’s triumph in the shootout. Williams, who had saved four penalty kicks in the previous weekend’s quarter-final against Cape Verde, once again proved instrumental in securing the win. Despite DR Congo’s numerous missed opportunities during regulation time, South Africa maintained their flawless record in third-place play-offs, a feat achieved 24 years ago against Tunisia.
South Africa made strategic changes to their lineup, with Nkosinathi Sibisi, Thapelo Morena, and Mihlali Mayambela replacing suspended Grant Kekana and injured duo Mothobi Mvala and Percy Tau.
DR Congo made minimal alterations to their lineup, retaining only captain and center-back Mbemba and midfielder Samuel Moutoussamy from their semi-final defeat against Ivory Coast, with the rest of the players dropped sitting on the bench, providing coach Sebastien Desabre with ample options for adjustments.
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