A “devastated” Bafana captain Ronwen Williams believes Bafana Bafana deserved to beat Nigeria on Wednesday and take their place in the Africa Cup of Nations final.
South Africa were edged out 4-2 on penalties by the Super Eagles, with Williams unable to repeat his heroics in the penalty shoot out that he had produced against Cape Verde a few days earlier.
“Obviously we are still devastated, there is …. a lot of pain,” said Williams the morning after the night before.
“But I am so immensely proud of the boys, day in and day out we showed our resilience and our brotherhood. I think this team deserved to be in the final just for the brotherhood we showed, and the hard work we put in over the last five weeks. (But) as much as I am feeling sad, I am so proud of every member of this squad.”
Williams was encouraged by the messages of support from South Africa ahead of the semifinal, though he hopes the public will continue to get behind the team going forward.
‘It is what I have been crying out for’
“We felt the support, social media has been going crazy in the last few weeks,” said Williams in conversation with Safa Media.
“We have seen each and every message of support and encouragement. It is what I have been crying out for, for the public to get behind this team.
“But (we know) it is all about results. We have got the results now and hopefully this can be the start of building a relationship … together. We know what is possible (now) and we need each and everyone. We need the support to fill up the stadiums (at home) an we need them (the fans) to keep sending us messages of support. Even when we lose, we must stick together.”
Bafana do still have one match to play at the competition, and can seal third place at the Africa Cup of Nations if they beat DR Congo in Abidjan on Saturday evening (kick off 10pm SA time).
“I think the team deserved to be in the final, but we need to recover today and on Saturday we want to go out and finish on a positive note,” added Williams.
“We will prepare accordingly, we are still in camp and still wearing the South African badge, so we are still in service to our country. We will go out and take the game seriously and hopefully we can come back with that bronze medal.”