South Africa’s Bafana Bafana finished third at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) for the first time since 2000. They defeated the Democratic Republic of Congo 6-5 on penalties at the Stade Félix-Houphouët-Boigny in Abidjan after a goalless draw on Saturday.
The two teams couldn’t break the deadlock in regulation time, with only two shots on goal in the first half. The closest chances saw Ronwen Williams easily stop Simon Banza’s weak effort from close range, while Mihlali Mayambela’s attempt came from too far away to challenge Dimitry Bertaud between the DR Congo sticks.
The second half appeared to be one to produce goals, but the wastefulness persisted, particularly among the Congolese, who had more opportunities.
Banza and Grady Diangana blasted over the crossbar before Meschak Elia’s strike landed straight in Williams’ palms from long range. Silas Mvumpa also had the finest chance to win it for his country, but he hit the side netting.
DR Congo had the final chance to score but again, substitute Fiston Mayele volleyed wide.
Williams hero for Bafana Bafana again
After full time, the match went directly to penalty shootouts, with Teboha Mokoena taking the first shot for South Africa, but despite sending Bertaud the wrong way, his spot-kick struck the post.
Williams, who saved four penalties in the quarter-final shootout win over Cape Verde, was once again the hero from Bafana Bafana, denying Chancel Mbemba and Elia to secure the victory for his country.
The win meant South Africa clinched a bronze medal at the AFCON for the second time in their history.
They previously won the AFCON in 1996, finished second in 1998, and claimed bronze in 2000.
Their 2023 AFCON campaign marked their best run in 24 years, having previously failed to advance past the quarterfinals.
Meanwhile, the AFCON final is set for Sunday between Nigeria and host Ivory Coast in Abidjan.