I STILL LOVE SOUTH AFRICA, NWABALI AFTER HEROICS AGAINST BAFANA BAFANA
Super Eagles’ goalkeeper and rave of the moment Stanley Nwabali has declared “no love lost” with South Africa, where he plays professionally for the Premier Soccer League side, Chippa United.
Nwabali was the centre of attention and Man-of-the-Match as the Super Eagles triumphed 4-2 on penalties over the Bafana Bafana after both sides settled for a 1-1 scoreline after 120 minutes of action in Bouake on Wednesday.
Nwabali, the unlikely hero of Nigeria’s dramatic penalty shootout victory, has spoken out about the emotional rollercoaster during the tense encounter.
Despite his heroics against his adopted football home, Nwabali assures that no animosity has developed.
Nwabali stood tall in the penalty shootout, saving two crucial spot-kicks to propel the Super Eagles into the final.
His performance earned him the Man-of-the-Match award and ignited both Nigerian celebrations and South African heartbreak.
Taking to social media, Nwabali addressed the potential conflict within his heart:
“This is a game I’m born to play. A night to remember!!! I felt every bit of it!!! Brick by brick, dreams are coming true. No love lost at all. I still love South Africa as much as their fans love me, and I love this team with all my heart.”
Despite playing his club football in South Africa, Nwabali’s national allegiance is unshaken, even if it might lead to his exit from his present club, which, interestingly, has also stood solidly behind him in the face of criticism from locals.
He emphasised his respect and affection for his club and its fans, showcasing the ability to separate professional competition from personal sentiment.
Nwabali’s journey to AFCON stardom has been an unexpected one.
Not anywhere in the picture a few weeks before the AFCON tournament’s commencement, he emerged as a surprise inclusion in the Nigerian squad.
His performance game after, and most recently, against South Africa, has cemented his place as a vital part of the Super Eagles’ journey.With Nigeria now facing the hosts, Ivory Coast, in the final, Nwabali’s focus has shifted as he and his teammates aim to add another chapter to Nigeria’s illustrious AFCON history by lifting their fourth continental title.