Super Eagles Goalkeeper Nwabali Reacts To His HEROICS Against South Africa In The Semi Final of AFCON 2023. {WATCH}

Super Eagles of Nigeria goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali reacts to his sensational performance at the ongoing Africa Cup Of Nations AFCON 2023 in Cote d'Ivoire.

Nwabali was named as man-of-the-match for his heroics in Nigeria's hard earned victory over South Africa in the semifinal of the Africa's biggest sporting event on Wednesday night.

The Chippa United goalkeeper making his debut in the tournament, played another crucial role yet again as the three-time African champions saw off another rival to continue their quest to win a fourth AFCON title, and the first since 2013.

Bobo Nwabali made a brilliant save to deny South Africa from taking the lead in the first half and would go on to be the hero saving the day in a tensed penalty shootout following a dramatic 1-1 scoreline at full-time and after the 30 minutes extra-time.

While the Bafana Bafana boys prevented him from keeping a consecutive fifth clean sheet, he is still yet to concede a goal from open play since Equatorial Guinea forward Iván Salvador's strike beat him in the opening game which they drew 1-1.

The first half, though, was goalless, and Nigeria picked it up thereafter, eventually forging in front when captain William Troost-Ekong scored from the penalty spot courtesy of a resulting penalty from Victor Osimhen's fall in the box.

Then, on 85 minutes, they looked to have sealed the game, as Osimhen finished from a terrific counter. But VAR brought play back to the start of the move, finding that Alhassan Yusuf had fouled Percy Tau, and at the clocked ticked over the 90-minute mark, Teboho Mokoena scored from the spot.

Both sides pushed for a winner in extra time but neither managed as all efforts was futile.

Two brilliant saves from the 27-year-old, saving Teboho Mokoena and Evidence Makgopa's spot kicks helped Nigeria beat South Africa 4-2 in the penalties.

Speaking in the post-match conference, Nwabali expressed his delight at winning the best player of the encounter.

"Today, I don't really know how I am feeling but it has been God throughout this tournament, When I look around, because of Nigerians, I only want to make them happy and just make them feel good,” Nwabali told reporters. 

“I did not even expect this thing to come my way now but I give God the glory and I want to say a very big thank you to everyone, my club, Chippa United family, and my coaches here who always guide me.

“Today showed me that it’s going to be a D-day for us in the final but you know football, you can never predict but I wish it is going to come our way.

“They always know this slogan ‘You no go gree for anybody’ and I really want to do more for Nigeria, I love them all. Thank you to everyone who wishes me well.”

"I really appreciate the management and the coaches today, they have really guided me a lot throughout this tournament. The former Enyimba player added.

"I feel so happy and I really appreciate my teammate."

The Super Eagles shot-stopper also spoke about the criticism of him not being adequately tested enough in the tournament and as a result, his South Africa counterpart Ronwen Williams should win the Best Goalkeeper award.

"There is no room to talk about criticism because it happens in football.

"When football go like this, your fans really want more from you. They said these kind of things, I didn't see it as anything. I just see it like a motivation to me to keep working."

The Super Eagles will now face the host country the Elephants of Cote d'Ivoire in the final on Sunday February 11 in Abidjan.

Ivory Coast who did not start the competition well and only managed to make the knockouts as one of the best losers, defeated DR Congo 1-0 in the second semi-final encounter.

The final will be a repeat of a group stage match earlier in the tournament. The Super Eagles won that tie 1-0 thanks to a penalty from stand-in captain Troost-Ekong.

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