…PMB Congratulates Victorious Super Falcons
Nigeria’s Super Falcons defeated South Africa 4-3 on penalties to claim the Africa Women Cup of Nation AWCON for the records of ninth times after a keenly contested 120-minute that ended in a goalless stalemate in Accra, Ghana.
In 20 years of its existence, reigning champions Nigeria have dominated AWCON to an embarrassing degree, with only Equatorial Guinea breaking their clean sweep on only two occasions
Opportunities were few and far between in a tight and cagey game in the Ghanaian capital. Both teams watched each other’s heels closely. Eventual Woman-Of-The-Match, Francisca Ordega on the Nigerian side, and top scorer Thembi Kgatlana on the South African side, came close with sweet touches in the closing stages of the first half, and just before interval, Rasheedat Ajibade should have done better as the ball spilled to her from a corner kick.
In the 48th minute, Ordega blasted a good chance over the bar, and 14 minutes later, Ngozi Okobi’s good move and pull –out was overhit. In the 75th minute, Ordega ran determinedly onto a brilliant pass from Okobi, but was scythed by goalkeeper Christen Swart. Zambian referee Gladys Lengwe awarded a penalty, but Oshoala screwed her shot and it went away.
Okobi and Ordega would miss chances late on, and substitute Nompumelelo Nyandeni came close with five minutes left but goalkeeper Tochukwu Oluehi, excellent throughout, was on call.
Oluehi would save from Kgatlana and Linda Motlhalo in extra time, just as Oshoala watched a good shot stopped by Swart.
In the shoot –out, Onome Ebi missed Nigeria’s first kick, hitting the upright, but after Alice Matlou and Ngozi Ebere netted, Lebohang Ramalepe booted her effort wide. Rita Chikwelu and Nyandeni scored, as did Chinwendu Ihezuo and Mamello Makhabane, but after Chinaza Uchendu found the roof in a cool manner, Motlhalo watched in agony as Oluehi stretched to stop her kick and hand Nigeria the trophy.
President Muhammadu Buhari has warmly congratulated the Super Falcons of Nigeria on their victory over the Banyana Banyana of South Africa in a statement by his special adviser media, Femi Adesina expressed particular delight at the discipline and commitment exhibited by the country’s senior women football team despite the stiff resistance of their South African counterparts.
Noting that the Super Falcons had earlier qualified to represent Nigeria at the FIFA Women World Cup tournament in France next year, President Buhari described winning the AWCON for the third consecutive time and ninth overall, as the “icing on the cake.”
Saluting the country’s female football ambassadors for doing their fatherland proud and showing clear dominance on the African continent, he urged them to approach the France 2019 competition with clear focus and determination to excel on the global stage.
President Buhari also commended the team’s coaching crew, the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF), Supporters Club and all football-loving citizens for adequately preparing and supporting the players, enjoining all stakeholders not to relent in rallying round the country’s football representatives going forward.
“I have never doubted the capacity of Nigerians to excel when given the right support,” he notes, while promising the Federal Government’s commitment to sports development as a unifying force.