Nigeria’s Super Falcons moved a step closer to securing their place at the 2024 Women Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON) in Morocco with a 5-0 thrashing of their Cape Verdean counterparts at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium in Abuja on Thursday evening.
Uchena Kanu and Esther Okoronkwo both scored braces to help nine-time African champions to a resounding victory and walloped their visitors in the second round of the WAFCON’s qualifiers to all but ensure they will qualify for 2024 continental soccer showpiece.
Gift Monday rocked the bar from a 22-yard free-kick in the 4th minute before Kanu reaped from a goalmouth melee that followed a corner kick to slot past goalkeeper Jacinta Rodrigues.
Rodrigues did better two minutes later when she palmed a left-footed angled drive from captain Rasheedat Ajibade.
In the 14th minute, Kleydiana Borges came close with a shot that was charged down by Oluwatosin Demehin, and five minutes later, Toni Payne missed from close range to let off the Cape Verdeans. However, Gift Monday made good from another goalmouth melee in the 25th minute, to make it two for the hosts at the MKO Abiola National Stadium.
Petite midfielder Deborah Abiodun, whose turns, swerves and sweet touches were a delight all evening, came close with a 25-yard volley on the half-hour mark, but Kanu made good again just before the break, making no mistake from a pass from Toni Payne on a swift counter-attack launched by Ajibade.
In the second period, the Falcons again completely dominated, with Okoronkwo lifting the ball past Rodrigues in the 67th minute from a cross by Ajibade from the right, and then shot past the visiting goalkeeper from a Rofiat Imuran cross from the left with 13 minutes left.
Both teams will clash in the second leg in Praia, capital of Cape Verde, on Tuesday, December 5, 2023.