• Friday, May 24, 2024
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BusinessDay

2024 Olympics: Super Falcons aim to extend unbeaten record against Banyana

SuperF

In a highly anticipated match on Tuesday night, Nigeria’s Super Falcons are poised to maintain their impeccable record of never succumbing to defeat against South Africa’s Banyana Banyana in senior women’s football matches played in the host nation.

The two teams will face off in the second leg of the 2024 Women’s Olympic Football Tournament African final qualifying in Pretoria. The first leg ended 1-0 in favour of Super Falcons, thanks to a superb strike from Rasheedat Ajibade.

The winner of the double-leg encounter will represent Africa at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

Since their dominant victory on March 19, 1995, when the Super Falcons clinched a resounding 7-1 win against the Banyana Banyana in Johannesburg during a 1995 FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifying encounter, the gap between the two sides has narrowed considerably.

However, the Super Falcons have remained unyielding, maintaining an unbeaten streak against South Africa on their home turf.

In their 24 previous clashes, with seven hosted in South Africa, Nigeria has emerged victorious in 15 encounters, while five matches ended in draws. South Africa has secured victory on four occasions, but they are yet to claim a win against the Super Falcons on home soil.

Among the notable encounters, one draw occurred during the final match of the 11th Women Africa Cup of Nations, where Nigeria clinched victory with a 4-3 penalty shootout triumph in Accra.

South Africa’s four triumphs over Nigeria have been recorded in various locations, including 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).

In the seven previous meetings held in South Africa, Nigeria has emerged victorious in five encounters, with two ending in draws. The Banyana Banyana managed to hold the Super Falcons only twice, notably during an Athens Olympics qualifier on March 12, 2004, which ended in a 2-2 stalemate, and a friendly match on June 3, 2012, concluding in a 1-1 draw.

Ahead of Tuesday’s crucial match, the Super Falcons’ delegation arrived in Pretoria on Monday morning and has settled into their accommodations in preparation for their official training session at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium on Tuesday night.

Scheduled to commence at 7:30 PM South African time (6:30 PM Nigeria time), Tuesday’s match holds significant importance for both teams.

Notably, Nigeria’s last two goals against South Africa were scored by captain Rasheedat Ajibade, marking pivotal moments in their recent encounters. Ajibade secured a consolation goal in the 2-1 defeat against their arch-rivals in Rabat on July 4, 2022, and also netted the crucial penalty that secured victory over the visitors in Abuja on Friday evening.