Thursday, May 30, 2024

Super Falcons Shatter Bayana’s Dream With Unbeaten Streak In South Africa, Soar To Olympics

The Super Falcons of Nigeria have extended their unbeaten streak against South Africa, clinching their first Olympic spot since 2008 with a 1-0 aggregate victory. The deadlock in South Africa on Tuesday followed a crucial 1-0 win in Nigeria, courtesy of Ajibade’s decisive goal in the first leg.

Nigeria marked a triumphant return to the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament after a 16-year hiatus with a commanding display in Pretoria on Tuesday evening. Their comprehensive performance subdued South Africa, making the home team’s advantage ineffective.

Despite early pressure from the hosts at Loftus Versfeld Stadium, the Super Falcons demonstrated resilience, with goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie making a critical save early on. Nigeria immediately countered, with Chinwendu Ihezuo’s headed attempt secured by South African keeper Kaylin Swart from an Ajibade cross.

Although Ihezuo missed another header in the 27th minute, Nigeria’s relief came when South Africa’s Thembi Kgatlana squandered a clear chance.

The second half saw South Africa’s Linda Motlhalo, Jermaine Seoposenwe, and Nomvula Kgoale take control of midfield, threading passes to the formidable Kgatlana. Yet, Nigeria’s defense, led by Ohale, Chidinma Okeke, Christy Ucheibe, and the vigilant Nnadozie, remained composed.

Nnadozie, the Paris FC standout, boosted her reputation with critical saves in the 70th and 86th minutes, while Ihezuo narrowly missed connecting with an Ajibade cross.

The aggregate victory books the Falcons’ spot in the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament, placing them in the dynamic Group C alongside Brazil, Spain, and Japan this July.

Ajibade, ecstatic at the final whistle, exclaimed, “We did it! We are finally going to the Olympics!” The Tokyo Games will mark Ajibade’s inaugural Olympic appearance.

With the draw in Pretoria Nigeria now takes record to eight unbeaten run against South Africa on their home soil.

Nigeria have won five, drawing three.

In 25 previous encounters (with eight played in South Africa), Nigeria have won 15, with six ending in draws and South Africa winning on four occasions. One of the drawn games was the final match of the 11th Women Africa Cup of Nations, which Nigeria eventually won 4-3 after a penalty shootout in Accra.

South Africa’s four wins have been in Bata, Equatorial Guinea (1-0, 2012 Women AFCON); Cape Coast, Ghana (1-0, 2018 Women AFCON); Lagos, Nigeria (4-2, Aisha Buhari Cup) and; Rabat, Morocco (2-1, 2022 Women AFCON).

FALCONS, BANYANA IN HISTORY

4 Mar 1995: Nigeria 4 South Africa 1 (WCq)

19 Mar 1995: South Africa 1 Nigeria 7 (WCq)

25 Nov 2000: South Africa 0 Nigeria 2 (WAfcon)

18 Dec 2002: Nigeria 5 South Africa 0 (WAfcon)

30 Mar 2003: South Africa 0 Nigeria 3 (Friendly)

11 Oct 2003: Nigeria 1 South Africa 0 (AfGames)

12 Mar 2004: South Africa 2 Nigeria 2 (Oq)

28 Mar 2004: Nigeria 1 South Africa 0 (Oq)

9 July 2007: South Africa 2 Nigeria 2 (AfGames)

18 July 2007: South Africa 0 Nigeria 4 (AfGames)

28 July 2008: Nigeria 5 South Africa 0 (Oq)

12 Aug 2008: South Africa 0 Nigeria 1 (Oq)

22 Nov 2008: South Africa 0 Nigeria 1 (WAfcon)

4 Nov 2010: South Africa I Nigeria 2 (WAfcon)

3 June 2012: South Africa 1 Nigeria 1 (Friendly)

23 June 2012: Nigeria 0 South Africa 0 (Friendly)

7 Nov 2012: South Africa 1 Nigeria 0 (WAfcon)

22 Oct 2014: South Africa 1 Nigeria 2 (WAfcon)

29 Nov 2016: Nigeria 1 South Africa 0 (WAfcon)

18 Nov 2018: South Africa 1 Nigeria 0 (WAfcon)

1 Dec 2018: Nigeria 0 South Africa 0 (WAfcon) – Nigeria triumphed 4-3 penalties

21 Sept 2021: Nigeria 2 South Africa 4 (Aisha Buhari Cup)

4 July 2022: South Africa 2 Nigeria 1 (WAfcon)

5 April 2024: Nigeria 1 South Africa 0 (OQ)

9 April 2024: South Africa 0 Nigeria 0 (OQ)

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