Bafana Bafana’ Captain and goalkeeper Ronwen Williams once again displayed the heroic role as South Africa edged the Democratic Republic of Congo 6-5 on penalties in the Africa Cup of Nations third-place play-off on Saturday 11 February.
Following a goalless draw after 90 minutes in Abidjan, Williams made crucial saves against Chancel Mbemba and Meschack Elia in the penalty shootout, securing the bronze medal for Bafana Bafana in Ivory Coast.
Before Elia’s missed penalty, Siyanda Xulu converted his spot kick, giving South Africa the winning advantage in the shootout.
Williams had previously saved four penalties in the shootout against Cape Verde in the quarter-final, helping South Africa advance.
DR Congo will rue missed opportunities during regular time in an intense match. South Africa now maintains a perfect record in third-place play-offs, having previously defeated Tunisia on penalties 24 years ago.
South Africa made three changes to their lineup from the semi-final defeat against Nigeria, with Nkosinathi Sibisi, Thapelo Morena, and Mihlali Mayambela replacing suspended Grant Kekana and injured duo Mothobi Mvala and Percy Tau.
DR Congo made two changes from their defeat against Ivory Coast, keeping only captain Chancel Mbemba and midfielder Samuel Moutoussamy in the starting lineup.
Despite having less possession in the first half, DR Congo posed a more significant threat in the attacking third.
Early in the game, Silas Mvumpa came close to scoring, but Williams successfully snatched the ball as he attempted to round the goalkeeper.
Simon Banza had a chance to break the deadlock midway through the first half, but his weak shot did not trouble the South African goalkeeper.
South Africa struggled to create opportunities and only managed a shot on target in the 43rd minute through Mayambela, which was easily dealt with by the DR Congo goalkeeper.
As the match progressed, DR Congo continued to look more likely to score.
Williams made a mistake, allowing the ball to slip away, but the resulting shot from Silas missed the target.
Mbemba, who had pushed forward for a free-kick, also squandered a chance when the ball fell to him near the goal.
Substitute Fiston Mayele also failed to capitalize on a scoring opportunity.
The tournament concludes on Sunday with the final between Ivory Coast and Nigeria, with a seven million dollar prize at stake.
The two teams had previously met in the group stage, where Nigeria emerged victorious with a 1-0 win thanks to a William Troost-Ekong penalty.