Nigeria’s penalty shootout hero Stanley Nwabali was quick to deflect personal praise onto his teammates after steering the Super Eagles to reach the TotalEnergies CAF AFCON final.
Nwabali saved two crucial spotkicks and earned the Man of the Match award as Nigeria edged South Africa 4-2 on penalties following a 1-1 draw in Bouake on Wednesday night.
Despite earning rave reviews for his shootout excellence, the humble keeper highlighted Nigeria’s team ethic.
“It has been a good team performance throughout this tournament. I really appreciate the management and coaches,” said Nwabali.
The Chippa United stopper praised head coach Jose Peseiro in particular. Nwabali was delighted when Peseiro visited him in South Africa prior to AFCON, calling it a huge motivational factor.
“When the coach informed me he was coming to visit, for me it was one of the biggest things. A coach to come visit was a motivation. When he said he was coming I was really pleased,” Nwabali remarked.
This humility and modesty has endeared Nwabali to Nigerian fans during a fairytale tournament.
His penalty heroics against South Africa will be remembered for generations, etching his name into Nigerian folklore.
Yet for Nwabali, it is all about the team. As Nigeria prepare for the final against Cote d”Ivoire or DR Congo, their unwavering spirit could prove the difference.
Nwabali embodies this spirit, deflecting praise and driving standards higher. “These guys have really guided me a lot throughout this tournament, and I feel so happy,” he said.