Super Eagles goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali has shed more light on the tactics behind his standout performance during the penalty shootout against South Africa in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations semifinal clash on Wednesday.
Nwabali emerged as the hero for the Eagles, making crucial saves to secure a 4-2 victory against the Bafana Bafana in Bouake.
He has received plaudits for his efforts, but the goalkeeper, in an interview with our correspondent, confirmed that he only adhered to the instructions of the goalkeeper coaches during the shootout.
In an interview with our correspondent, Nwabali clarified that he did not specifically study the South African players’ penalty-taking styles, despite playing in their country for Chippa United.
Our correspondent observed that a bottle wrapped in a handkerchief was handed over to the goalkeeper before the shootout.
This writer later learnt that it contained instructions on directions where Bafana Bafana players typically play their kicks.
Furthermore, he dismissed suggestions that the team’s advancement to the final was merely a stroke of luck, emphasizing the meticulous preparation and execution that led to their success.
“I won’t talk about luck because everyone in the team plays their role; there is a lot of quality and leadership in the squad. I won’t say we are where we are because of luck; we have to show that we are a big country.
I didn’t study any South African players before the penalty; I will have to appreciate my coaches because when it got to the penalty time, they guided me, and I took their own decisions and moved on,” he said.