• Monday, July 22, 2024
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BusinessDay

Super Falcons pip Banyana Banyana to keep 2024 Olympics dream alive

Ajibade

The Super Falcons secured a crucial 1-0 victory over South Africa’s Banyana Banyana in the first leg of the 2024 Women’s Olympic Football Tournament African final qualifying at the Moshood Abiola Stadium in Abuja.

A goal from team Super Falcons captain, Rasheedat Ajibade in the 42nd minute was enough to hand the Nine-time African champions the vital three points with eyes on the second leg.

Coach Randy Waldrum called Pachuca forward, Chinwendu Ihezuo, into the Super Falcons’ starting lineup as US-based Asisat Oshoala could not get a starting role due to a late arrival to the camp.

Ajibade scored from the penalty spot after a foul was committed by Banyana Banyana defender Noko Matlou in the 40th minute.

Nigeria maintained pressure in the second half, with Ajibade providing Uchenna Kanu an opportunity in the 52nd minute, although the Racing Louisville FC striker failed to find the target.

As the game progressed, the 11-time WAFCON champions adopted a cautious approach to safeguard their one-goal lead and avoid errors ahead of the crucial return leg against South Africa.

The return leg will take place at Pretoria’s Loftus Versfeld arena on Tuesday, April 9.

The first-leg defeat to the Super Falcons put Banyana Banyana’s dream of qualifying for the 2024 Olympics in Paris hanging.

Nigeria will hope to build on their first-leg advantage when they travel to Pretoria to take on Desiree Ellis’ team on Tuesday.

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

This year’s Olympics will take place in July and August in Paris and both Banyana and Nigeria are fighting to represent the continent for the third time in the event.

The Banyana Banyana will fly back to Johannesburg on Saturday morning while the Super Falcons will fly out of Lagos on Sunday night.