South Africa’s U-20s claimed the bronze of the ongoing 2019 U-20 Africa Cup of Nations defeating Nigeria 5-3 on penalties in the Third-Place match after full open play ended goalless in Niamey on Saturday.
It was the first time South Africa finished third in the history of the competition after two fourth-place feats in 2009 and 2017.
Siphesihle Mkhize who scored South Africa’s first goal in the tournament netted the decisive spot kick to earn the Amajita a crucial win.
It was the third time that seven-time champions, Nigeria finished fourth in the competition.
The Flying Eagles finished fourth in 1979 and in 1981.
Both teams had earlier played out a goalless draw in their second Group A match of the competition.
Paul Aigbogun made five changes to the side that lost 4-3 on penalties to Mali in the semi-finals on Wednesday after regulation time scoreline ended 1-1.
Olawale Oremade, Utin Ikuowen, Yahaya Nafizi, Aniekeme Okon and Ibrahim Aliyu were dropped for Detan Ogundare, Mike Zaruma, Peter Eletu Igor Ogbu and Paschal Onyekachi.
The Flying Eagles started off slowly and despite having more possession of the ball, failed to create a clear cut chance before the interval.
Eight minutes into the second half, Aigbogun hurled off Peter Eletu for Abubakar Ibrahim as he went in search of goals.
Effiom Maxwell came close to breaking the deadlock in the 65th minute with an overhead kick but his shot was saved by the South African goalkeeper.
As the Flying Eagles kept the pressure on, former Warri Wolves and Enyimba gaffer, Aigbogun also introduced Nazifi Yahaya with nine minutes left to play.
But it was South Africa who had a chance to score with a fast break, but they could not string the right passes, only forcing a save from Ogundare in goal for Nigeria.
During the penalty shootout, Luke Le Roux, Simphiwe Ncamani and Malebogo Modise scored for South Africa.
Jamil Muhammad, Maxwell Effiom and Mike Zaruma scored for Nigeria, while Ibrahim Alhassan missed his spot-kick.