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AFCON 2023: Semifinal Against Nigeria Will Be Different, Says S/African Coach

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Hugo Bruce, South African coach, says he will approach the semi-final match against Nigeria differently from Bafana Bafana’s style in their quarter-final game against Cape Verde on Saturday.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Goalkeeper Ronwen Williams was the hero as South Africa beat Cape Verde 5-3 on penalties following a goalless 120 minutes to advance to the Africa Cup of Nations semi-finals.

After an impressive four penalty saves by Williams, Bafana Bafana secured their place in the semi-finals for the first time since 2000 where they will meet Nigeria.

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READ ALSO: AFCON 2023: Nigeria, S/Africa Renew Rivalry In Semifinal Clash

Bruce told newsmen at a post-match conference that the game against Nigeria would be an entirely different ‘kettle of fish.’

“The semi-final match will be different against Nigeria, which has good players like (Ademola) Lookman.

“We will not lose focus. The players will be in good condition, so we need to rest and recover to start our preparation,” he said.

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He noted that the pressure of qualifying for the semi-finals for the first time in AFCON made the game tougher, adding that winning the game by penalty shootout wasn’t a fluke.

READ ALSO: JUST IN: Nigeria Soar Into AFCON Semi-finals, Beat Angola 1-0

When we got to the penalty shootout, it was a special thing for the players, because during training they were scoring them.

“When we have a goalkeeper who stops four penalty kicks, this is not luck but a lot of hard work.

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“There was a lot of pressure in the match. Everyone wanted to qualify.

“This match was unlike the previous ones. We did not show the same performance as we had in previous matches,” he said.

He also noted that not many people in South Africa believed in the team, saying that he was proud of what his boys had achieved so far.

“In spite of all the doubts, we believed in it, and the players believed in themselves as well.

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“Reaching the semi-finals is in itself a good thing for South African football,” Bruce said.

(NAN)

 

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UPDATED: Ex-Italy Footballer Roberto Baggio Hospitalised After Robbery Attack

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Italian football legend Roberto Baggio has been hospitalised after being attacked by armed robbers who stormed his home.

The intruders locked his family up while they watched last night’s Euro 2024 match between Italy and Spain.

According to Daily Mail Sports, Baggio, 57, was at his home in Altavilla Vicentina, a small town in northern Italy about an hour’s drive from Venice, when a gang of five broke in around 10pm local time on Thursday night.

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Italy lost the game to Spain by a lone goal.

While Baggio, known as Il Divin Codino (The Divine Ponytail), tried to fight off the attackers, he was hit in the head with the butt of a gun before he and his family were locked in a room.

READ ALSO: Euro 2024: Roberto Baggio Robbed At Gunpoint

The robbers stole watches, jewellery, and money from the isolated estate where Baggio and his family have lived for 15 years.

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The exact value of the stolen items is not currently known. The robbery reportedly lasted 40 minutes.

After the robbers left, Baggio managed to break his family out of the locked room. He had to go to a hospital in Arzignano, about eight miles from his home, to be treated for his forehead injury, which required stitches.

While none of his family were physically hurt, they were left terrified by the incident.

Investigating police have been handed CCTV footage to assist in their inquiry.

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READ ALSO: JUST IN: Nigeria’s Public Debt Rose By N24.33tn In Three Months – DMO

Speaking to Italian media through his agent Vittorio Petrone, Baggio said, “First of all, my family and I would like to thank everyone for the great love we have received. Thank you very much.”

“In similar circumstances, anything can happen, and fortunately, the violence suffered only generated a few stitches to my person, bruises and a lot of fear. Now all that remains is to overcome the fear.”

Petrone told Italian media, “The lightning attack, in full light, did not allow the activation of all the best security systems with which the villa is equipped.

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“Now, from what happened, we will further strengthen the daytime detection systems throughout the entire perimeter.

“Only when you are hit do you realize the wounds left by an episode of violence and oppression suffered in your home, together with his family Roberto once again amazed me with the clarity and strength of spirit he expressed immediately following the attack he suffered.

READ ALSO: Tinubu Flies Private Jet To S’Africa, Avoids Faulty Presidential Aircraft

“I am sure that Roberto will once again be the pillar on which his entire family can lean to leave this brutal attack. The investigators are working intensely to bring the culprits to justice.”

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Baggio spent his entire 22-year sporting career in Italy, playing for Juventus, AC Milan, Inter Milan, and other clubs.

He won two Serie A titles and is considered one of the world’s greatest players.

A 1985 injury led him to convert from Catholicism to Buddhism, although he married his long-time partner Andreina Fabbi in a Catholic ceremony in 1989.

The couple has three children: Valentina, born in 1990; Mattia, born in 1994; and Leonardo, born in 2005.

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Euro 2024: Roberto Baggio Robbed At Gunpoint

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Italian football legend, Roberto Baggio, has been robbed at gunpoint while watching his country’s national team play Spain at the ongoing Euro 2024.

According to Italian outlet Corriere dello Sport, about five armed robbers burst into Baggio’s house near the northern city of Vicenza around 10pm local time on Thursday.

One intruder hit Baggio on the head with the butt of a gun when the 57-year-old confronted them.

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The robbers then locked him and his family in a room while they stole cash, jewellery and watches during the raid, which reportedly lasted for about 40 minutes.

READ ALSO:Residents Protest, Burn Tyres In Osun Community Over Alleged Imposition Of Monarch

Baggio had a “very brief” scuffle with one of the intruders.

The retired footballer suffered a “deep wound” after being hit on the forehead with the weapon.

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However, Baggio was later taken to hospital and received stitches for the wound.

Baggio’s were not harmed during the raid.

Meanwhile, the match between Italy and Spain ended 1-0 in favour of the La Roja.

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FIFA Rankings: Super Eagles Fall Eight Places After Dismal World Cup Qualifiers

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The Super Eagles have fallen by eight places in the latest FIFA rankings, moving to 38th globally following a dismal outing in the race for the 2026 World Cup.

Nigeria lost to the Benin Republic for the first time and had before then drawn South Africa – all games in the 2026 World Cup Qualifiers for Africa – leaving their hopes of reaching the competition hanging in the balance.

READ ALSO: Knocks For Osimhen After Finidi George Outburst

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In FIFA’s latest ranking released on Thursday, the Super Eagles are now 5th in Africa, falling two steps behind on the continental pecking order.

Morocco moved up one place as the best team in Africa, placing 12th globally. They are followed by Senegal (18th), Egypt (36th), and Cote d’Ivoire (37th) in second, third, and fourth respectively on the continental rankings.

Argentina, France, Belgium, Brazil, and England in that order occupy the first five positions globally.

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