Hugo Broos’ men had shown grit during regulation and extra time as they came back from behind through Teboho Mokoena’s penalty to cancel out William Troost-Ekong’s earlier goal from the spot.
But it was on the penalties where the Super Eagles’ prevailed as they slotted four against Bafana’s two to play in the ultimate footballing match in Africa — thanks to the heroics of goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali.
While this loss meant Bafana will now contest for a third-place finish for the first time in 26 years against DR Congo or hosts Ivory Coast on Saturday night, they’ll still be proud of their exploits.
Bafana were barely tipped to reach this stage of the competition by most of their fans given their previous form at Afcon and recent shortcomings.
But such was their tenacity, they punched above their weights to ensure they were part of the last four teams from the 24 participants that remained in the tournament.
Sure, this match was played at ‘Peace Stadium, but this was no ordinary semi-final, having the two teams forged a fierce rivalry over the years.
Bafana had never beaten the Super Eagles in three matches at Afcon, including the 2000 semi-final which were hosted by the Nigerians and Ghana.
And with this Bafana’s first return to the penultimate game of the continental showpiece, it’s safe to say the Super Eagles will embrace the victory.