Super Falcons of Nigeria have won the 2018 African Women Cup of Nations after beating the Banyana Banyana of South Africa, causing an excitement in Nigeria and presidency.
Goalkeeper Tochukwu Oluehi’s heroics on Saturday in Accra helped the Super Falcons of Nigeria to victory at the 11 African Women Cup of Nations (AWCON) in Ghana.
It was however a very disappointing evening for the Banyana Banyana of South Africa who hoped for a first title but lost 3-4 to Nigeria on penalty kicks.
At the Accra Sports Stadium, both sides had to endure 120 minutes of play before a winner could emerge.
It was the first time in the tournament’s history that the final match was decided via penalties after extra time.
Nigeria, however had an opportunity to claim the title in the 75th minute after Francisca Ordega, who was later named Woman of the Match was fouled in the penalty area.
Asisat Oshoala stepped forward to take the penalty kick, but she slipped and could not utilise the opportunity given, thus allowing the game to extend to extra time.
However, the very resilient Banyana Banyana hoped and did a lot for a win, but they always found confident Oluehi an obstacle.
In the end, Rita Chikwelu, Ngozi Ebere, Chinwendu Ihezuo and Chinaza Uchendu all contributed to Nigeria’s victory through their successful penalty kicks, after Onome Ebi’s miss.
Alice Matlou, Nompumelelo Nyandeni and Mamello Makhabane scored for South Africa, while Lebohang Ramalepe and Linda Motlhalo missed their kicks.
Thembi Kgatlana of South Africa won the competition’s highest goal scorer with five goals to her credit.
Nigeria, South Africa and Cameroon are by their success as the competition’s best three Africa’s flagbearers at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated the Super Falcons on their victory.
The President, in a congratulatory message by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, in Abuja on Saturday, expressed delight at the discipline and commitment exhibited by the country’s senior women football team despite the stiff resistance of their South African counterparts.
While 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.”
He, therefore, saluted the country’s female football ambassadors for doing their fatherland proud and showing clear dominance on the African continent.
President Buhari urged them to approach the France 2019 competition with clear focus and determination to excel on the global stage.
He 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.
The president enjoined 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 noted
President Buhari reiterated the Federal Government’s commitment to sports development as a unifying force.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Falcons won their 9th African title on Saturday after beating South Africa’s Banyana Banyana 4-3 on penalties at the 11th AWCON in Ghana.
The penalty kicks came after an all-action 0-0 draw following extra time play in the tension soaked match.