‘Give Ekong Player of the tournament’ – Super Eagles fans roar after AFCON semi-final victory

Nigeria's Super Eagles put an end to South Africa’s aspirations for a second Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) title with a penalty shootout victory at the Stade de la Paix in Bouake.

Following a 1-1 deadlock at the end of regulation time and no breakthroughs in extra time, the match was decided by the lottery of penalty kicks, with Nigeria emerging triumphant.

Bafana Bafana dominated the first half, and Nigeria owes gratitude to their South Africa-based goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali for keeping them in the game as both teams entered halftime with a scoreless draw.

The second half was similarly tense, though Nigeria showed improvement and carved out opportunities through Ademola Lookman and Victor Osimhen, albeit without success.

Super Eagles fans react to Nigeria vs South Africa AFCON 2024 semi-final
Photo by Icon Sport

In the 67th minute, Nigeria earned a penalty after Osimhen was fouled in the box. William Troost Ekong confidently dispatched the spot kick.

Initially, it seemed Nigeria had secured the victory after Osimhen scored from a counterattack. However, VAR identified an infraction by Nigeria's Alhassan Yusuf in his own box before Osimhen's goal.

This led to South Africa being awarded a penalty, which Teboho Mokoena converted to level the game as extra time loomed.

Super Eagles fans react to Nigeria vs South Africa AFCON 2024 semi-final
Photo by Icon Sport

South Africa's Grant Kekana was subsequently sent off in the dying moments, reducing them to 10 men. Extra time failed to produce any goals, leading to a penalty shootout.

Ola Aina missed his penalty for Nigeria, while Teboho Mokoena and Evidence Makgopa missed theirs for South Africa, handing Nigeria a 4-2 victory and a place in the final.

Nigerians took to the social media platform x (formerly known as Twitter) to share their thoughts on the game.

While others were talking about the game and how it panned out for the two sides, some were of the opinion that Nigeria defender William Troost-Ekong should be named Player of the Tournament

Nigeria goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali who plays in South Africa also got a shout out from former Nigeria midfielder John Ogu who was part of the team that defeated South Africa in the quarter-final of the AFCON in 2019 in Egypt.

There was also the little matter about who owns the musical genre called ‘amapiano'. The talk on social media prior to the game was that the winner takes the true ownership of the genre and same banter continued after Nigeria eliminated South Africa.

CAF social media handles were not left out on the fun on social media as they posted using ‘pidgin', a variation of the English language to congratulate the Super Eagles on their qualification for the final.

Nigeria will now meet hosts Ivory Coast in the final after the Elephants saw off DR Congo 1-0 in the other semi-final on Wednesday.

‘Give Ekong Player of the tournament’ – Super Eagles fans roar after AFCON semi-final victory
Andrew Randa

Andrew Randa is a seasoned Africa sports journalist, and a former Media Officer for Nigeria's U-20 national team. He is widely acknowledged as an authority on the NPFL and African football, Randa is esteemed for his expertise in football content creation. Furthermore, he holds the distinction of being Nigeria's foremost sports kit designer and a trailblazer in the realm of sports graphics in Nigeria.