After twice winning the bronze medal on penalties in 1998 and 2015, DR Congo lost out to South Africa (0-0, tab 6-5) for 3rd place at AFCON 2023 on Saturday February 10. Chancel Mbemba had the match ball in the shoot-out, but was denied by Ronwen Williams.
AFCON 2023 South Africa on the podium
The matches for 3rd place have more often than not offered open encounters between two teams, admittedly disappointed by their elimination in the semi-finals, but with liberated players and no pressure.Last year’s match between Burkina Faso and Cameroon, for example, has gone down in history.Trailing 3-0 at home to the Etalons, the Cameroonians managed to equalize 3-3 before winning on penalties (5-3). The Congolese and South Africans didn’t exactly set the Felicia on fire.
South Africa, who had just gone into extra time twice and had less of a rotating squad than DR Congo, looked very borrowed. Hugo Broos’ men offered nothing. During the 45 minutes of the second half, they came close to being punished on several occasions. But the Congolese, more enterprising it’s true, suffered from a great deal of clumsiness in front of goal.
With neither team able to find the back of the net for the full 90 minutes, the tie was decided by a penalty shoot-out.Mokoena, who fired first for South Africa, missed. But the Congolese, who had taken the lead, missed the match ball. Chancel Mbemba found Ronwen Williams in his path, while his first four team-mates had all caught the Bafana Bafana keeper off guard. Meshak Elia’s shot was also saved in sudden death.
Twenty-four years on, South Africa finished 3rd in the AFCON.