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Ronwen Williams – SA’s Captain Fantastic

todayFebruary 12, 2024 31

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Bafana Bafana shot-stopper, Ronwen Williams, was voted the Best Goalkeeper of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations tournament for his heroics with the bronze medalists, which included a record four-penalty saves against Cape Verde in the quarter-finals and another two against DR Congo.

Ronwen Williams of South Africa saves the second penalty of the shootout during the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations quarterfinal match between Cape Verde and South Africa at Charles Konan Stadium in Yamoussoukro, Cote dIvoire on 3 February 2024 ยฉRyan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

In addition to finishing third in the competition, Bafana Bafanaโ€™s bronze medal is accompanied by the Fair Play Team Award.

After a 2-0 defeat to Mali in the tournament opener, Williams’ five clean sheets helped South Africa to their first AFCON medal in 24 years.

Following that loss, Williams next conceded a goal in the 1-1 result after extra time in the semifinal against Nigeria, who went on to win on penalties. He made two saves in the third-place penalty shoot-out. After the two goals against Mali, the South African keeper only conceded once again in six matches.

However, the reigning PSL Goalkeeper of the Season had stiff competition from Nigeria keeper Stanley Nwabali, who also plays in South Africa, for Chippa United.

Nwabali conceded twice in the final against hosts Cote d’Ivoire who won the tournament. Before that he conceded in the Super Eagles’ opening 1-1 draw against Equatorial Guinea, then kept four clean sheets going into the final.

The Fair Play Award is determined by the total number of yellow and red cards accumulated by each team.

Nigeria centreback and captain William Troost-Ekong won Player of the Tournament. Equatorial Guinea’s Emilio Nsue Lopez, with five goals, was top scorer.

Meanwhile, the Premier Soccer League has postponed the eight midweek matches that would have seen the return to action of the DStv Premiership from the AFCON break due to the late return of Bafana.

The SA national football team is scheduled to land at the OR Tambo International Airport in the early hours (4am) of Wednesday.

 

Written by: Ntsako Mukhari

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