Victor Osimhen, the African Footballer of the Year, expressed profound pride in his Super Eagles teammates following Nigeria’s advancement to the final of the 2023 Nations Cup.
In a nail-biting encounter, the Super Eagles emerged victorious over the Bafana Bafana of South Africa, clinching a 4-2 penalty shootout triumph after a gripping 1-1 draw in regulation time and extra time on Wednesday night.
Osimhen’s impact on the match was palpable as he earned a penalty after being fouled in the box. Captain Troost Ekong capitalized on the opportunity, converting the spot-kick in the 67th minute to give Nigeria a 1-0 lead.
Osimhen appeared to secure the win for Nigeria with a goal in the 85th minute, but VAR intervened, overturning the decision and awarding South Africa a penalty for a foul on Percy Tau. Teboho Mokoena successfully converted the penalty, leveling the scores at 1-1.
Despite the chaotic turn of events, Mokoena remained composed, converting the decisive penalty in the final moments of regular time.
Nigeria, however, rallied impressively, with Lookman and Osimhen testing the South African goalkeeper in extra time.
Osimhen’s substitution for Terem Moffi in extra time saw further drama unfold, with Kekana receiving a red card after fouling Moffi, although VAR determined the contact was just outside the box.
The match ultimately boiled down to penalties, where goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali emerged as the hero for Nigeria, saving efforts by Teboho Mokoena and Evidence Makgopa.
Nwabali’s stellar performance propelled Nigeria to their eighth Africa Cup of Nations final, solidifying their place in football history once again.
Nigeria will play host Cote D’Ivoire in the final on Sunday.