Siviwe Mpengesi, Chairman of South African football club, Chippa United, has thrown his weight behind the club’s goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali, ahead of the CAF African Cup of Nations semi-finals match between Nigeria and South Africa.
As contained in a statement shared by the club’s X handle on Wednesday, Mpengesi stated that Nwabali’s performances have “caught the eyes of the globe, earning him and our club international acclaim.”
The club’s chairman also stated that he, and the club, support the Super Eagles against the Bafa Bafana, wishing the Nigerian team “all the best.”
Nigeria’s football team has maintained a steady win form in the AFCON so far, earning four victories in five matches, including a 1-0 win against Ivory Coast, a 2-0 win against Cameroon, followed by a 1-0 win in the quarterfinal against Angola.
Nwabali, the nation’s man between the sticks, has been in fine form, conceding only one goal in five matches so far.
Mpengesi, according to the statement, said, “As the Chairman of Chippa United FC and as a proud South African, I find myself in a unique position during the 2023 Afcon tournament in that our very own Nigeria international Stanley Nwabali has been a revelation, his performance for the Nigerian national team has caught the eyes of the globe, earning him and our club international acclaim.
“With Stanley’s rising profile and the international attention it brings Chippa United FC, the benefits have been nothing but positive. Therefore, I and Chippa United FC stand behind our player Stanley Nwabali and the Nigerian Super Eagles tomorrow (Wednesday) against South Africa’s Bafana Bafana. We wish the Super Eagles all the best.”
He equally praised the South African Premier Soccer League for having the highest number of domestic players at the tourney, including native players and others from Nigeria, Namibia, Ghana and host nation, Ivory Coast.
“I would like to start by extending my congratulations to the Premier Soccer League (PSL) for showcasing the highest number of domestic players at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations. Close to 30 players from South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique, Ghana, Nigeria and even the host country, Ivory Coast, who play in the PSL were part of the Afcon 2023 tournament, all thanks to the PSL Chairman Dr Irvin Khoza.
“Acknowledgement is also given to coach Hugo Broos, who boldly trusted our domestic players, unlike previous Bafana Bafana national team coaches who preferred to select players who played abroad as benchwarmers instead, to represent our national team. My commendation also goes out to Mamelodi Sundowns FC and their technical staff for their outstanding contribution, highlighted by the inclusion of eight players in the Bafana Bafana starting lineup.”
Mpengesi further appreciated the President, Confederation of African Football, Dr. Patrice Motsepe, “for orchestrating what is arguably the finest Afcon tournament of the century, showcasing the continent’s football prowess and uniting us in the spirit of the game.”
The club helmsman stated, “It’s a moment of pride and reflection on our journey and growth in African football.”
Nigeria faces South Africa in an anticipated semi-final clash at the Stade de la Paix in Bouake, Ivory Coast, by 6 pm local time.