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'If you fight for it like we do, you deserve it': Bruce wins Africa Cup bronze after thrilling penalty shootout |  Foreign football

'If you fight for it like we do, you deserve it': Bruce wins Africa Cup bronze after thrilling penalty shootout | Foreign football

After the gold medal in 2017 with Cameroon, there is now bronze with South Africa. Hugo Bros is more appreciated on the African continent. The Belgian coach did it again in the penalty shootout and his players immediately fired into the air. Bruce said afterwards: “Congo was better than us, but we fought hard for it.”

look. Bruce's amazing reaction after the decisive penalty kick

Champion status in Cameroon and now also in South Africa. Hugo Bruce has made himself popular in Africa once again. Not a gold medal – as happened seven years ago with Cameroon – but a bronze medal, this time with South Africa. Something no South African would have dared to dream of previously. The small football country has emerged prominently in the tournament in recent weeks, and Nigeria only stopped it in the semi-finals. But by winning the bronze medal match, Bruce and his teammates finished the tournament on a high note.

The little finish always tastes a bit sour. But the trip home will be a little more enjoyable with a medal around your neck. South Africa has not been on the podium since 2000, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo won its last medal in 2015.

The first half is bad

The much-changed teams put in a dull first-half display. DRC – with Belgians Bongonda, Mbemba and Kayembe in the starting line-up – had plenty of chances, but they weren't great ones. It is difficult for South Africa to offer anything in return. The fear of losing seemed greater than the desire to win.

In the second half then? The beginning was definitely promising. Clearly, teams came out of the locker room with a different mentality. The Leopards from Congo were especially looking forward to him. Winger Silas wasted a terrible mistake by South African goalkeeper Williams, while Mbemba also missed a great opportunity. 90 minutes was not enough to determine the winner. Bruce was allowed to prepare for a third penalty series in the Africa Cup.

The seriousness on Hugo Bros's face before the penalty shootout.
The seriousness on Hugo Bros's face before the penalty shootout. © Reuters

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And his team has done it again. Goalkeeper Williams saved Congo's seventh penalty kick. The South African players and staff immediately rallied around their successful coach: Hugo Bruce. A very good achievement for a small footballing country. After the gold ribbon, a bronze can now also be added to the name of the Belgian coach. And then you can be thrown into the air. The final of this tournament will be held tomorrow. Nigeria faces host country Ivory Coast.

Hugo Bros: “Third place means nothing”

With Nawah, according to many experts, not even surviving the group stage, they took the bronze medal in the Africa Cup. Then you can't help but be proud. It wasn't South Africa's best game, but that doesn't matter much to Hugo Bruce. “We were very tired today. We have already played many long games in this tournament and you saw that day. We were not fresh. But when you look at the mentality of this team, you can't help but feel happy. They are fighting for every ball. There were players who almost “They collapsed from exhaustion, but they kept going,” the coach praised his players afterwards.

“Bafana Bafana didn't show much during regular periods of play, but with the right mentality you can also win games. “That's why I think we deserved to win today. DR Congo was better than us, but if you fight for it like my players then you deserve it. I'm very proud.” However, Bruce remains humble: “Third place means nothing. “There is still a lot of work to be done, but we have made some progress.”

At the press conference, Bruce also spoke about his future as South Africa's coach: “I still have a two-year contract here. The South African Football Association will decide my fate. I'm happy with my position and very proud of what we've achieved. There will always be rumours.”

France Press agency
© Agence France-Presse

France Press agency
© Agence France-Presse

© AP