Nigeria’s goalkeeper #23 Stanley Nwabali gestures during the Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) 2024 semi-final football match between Nigeria and South Africa at the Stade de la Paix in Bouake on February 7, 2024. (Photo by Issouf SANOGO / AFP)
Super Eagles goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali wants to do more for Nigerians after his heroics in the penalty shootout win over South Africa.
The Chippa United star stopped two penalties in the shootout to book the Super Eagles’ date with Cote d’Ivoire in the final of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).
Despite his stellar performance on Wednesday night, an emotional Nwabali has one objective.
“I don’t really know how I am feeling. When I look around, because of Nigerians, I only want to make them happy and just make them feel good,” Nwabali, a former Enyimba player, said after a Man of the Match showing.
“I did not even expect this thing to come my way now but I give God the glory and I want to say a very big thank you to everyone, my club, Chippa United family, and my coaches here who always guide me.
“Today showed me that it’s going to be a D-day for us in the final but you know football, you can never predict but I wish it is going to come our way.
“They always know this slogan ‘You no go gree for anybody’ and I really want to do more for Nigeria, I love them all. Thank you to everyone who wishes me well.”
Nigeria take on Cote d’Ivoire, the host nation, in Sunday’s final which is a repeat of a group stage match earlier in the tournament. The Super Eagles won that tie 1-0 thanks to a penalty from stand-in captain William Troost-Ekong.
‘Our Toughest Game’
Although the Elephants did not start the competition well and only managed to make the knockouts as one of the best losers, they have shocked pundits, reaching the final in grand style.
But a former Nigerian international Peterside Idah maintains his country have the upper hand going into Sunday’s final against the host nation.
“We all knew this (South Africa) was going to be our toughest game. The game against Ivory Coast will be easier than this because we have beaten them already in our group game,” Peterside said on Thursday’s edition of Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.
“They (Ivory Coast) only survived by sheer luck to get here. I watched the game against Congo yesterday. They are not as good as we are. They just wobbled and fumbled into the final and they will be under pressure. The final game will be so easy; I say it again and we will win easily,” Peterside said.