Stats don’t play the game, says Williams ahead of semis’ clash

Ronwen Williams, the captain of Bafana Bafana, says their lacklustre record against Nigeria will not matter when they lock horn in a semi-final clash on Wednesday night.

The Super Eagles and Bafana will be competing at the Stade Bouaké for a place in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon). Kick-off time is 7pm (SA time).

With a superior head-to-head record against Bafana — winning seven of their previous 14 meetings while the South Africans have only won twice and drawn the other five — the Super Eagles of Nigeria will go into the match as the overwhelming favourites.

The two countries’ most recent Afcon match took place in Egypt in 2019 when Nigeria defeated South Africa 2-1 in the quarter-finals.

Team hero

Williams, who emerged as the team’s hero after saving four penalties in Bafana’s quarter-final match against Cape Verde at the weekend, stated that the team is not concerned about Nigeria having the upper hand.

“Statistics don’t play the game; there were so many stats that were against us in this tournament, and we proved that stats don’t play the game,” said Williams at a press conference in Bouaké, northeast of Ivory Coast.

“What happened in the past happened in the past, but what we can change is tomorrow’s [Wednesday] result and the performance.

“So, we won’t be focusing on that [statistics] because it can change, and the only thing we can control is tomorrow’s performance and result.”

Bafana will be going up against a star-studded Nigerian side that features the likes of Napoli striker Victor Osimhen, Atalanta forward Ademola Lookman, and PAOK defender William Troost-Ekong.

We do not fear Nigeria

However, Bafana coach Hugo Broos said his charges do not fear going up against the fiery Nigerian attack.

“No, we don’t fear it [the Nigerian attack]; we know that they have good players, and for sure, we will try to do something so that they don’t become dangerous for us,” Broos said.

“Their defence is also good … Again, those are things that were said about Morocco as well, and we won.

“So, those are the statistics, and we must take care of them, but it doesn’t make us fear the opponent.”

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