Olympics qualifiers: Super Falcons edge Banyana Banyana, all to play for in second leg

Nigeria’s Super Falcons are one step away from qualifying for the Women’s football event at the Paris Olympics after defeating South Africa 1-0 at the MKO Abiola Stadium in Abuja.

Rasheedat Ajibade scored the only goal of the game from the spot in the 42nd minute after Chinwendu Ihezuou was brought down in the box.

Super Falcons edge Banyana Banyana
Photo by Icon Sport

They will now take the slim win to South Africa for the second leg of the encounter on Tuesday next week.

The Super Falcons started brightly with the lively Uchenna Kanu and Chiwendu Ihezuo both having a pop at the Banyana Banyana goal in the early exchanges.

Kaylin Swart did well to thwart Nigeria as the Falcons went in search of the go-ahead goal.

Ihezou had a great chance to put Nigeria ahead but spurned her chance after a great cross by Chidinma Okeke in the 18th minute.

Ajibade breaks the deadlock for Super Falcons

In the 41st minute, Nigeria got the breakthrough.

The exciting Ihezuo broke free from the right but was hacked down in the box by Noko Matlau for a penalty for the Super Falcons.

Team captain Rasheedat converted the spot kick as Nigeria went into the break with the lead.

In the 52nd minute, Uchenna Kanu missed a glorious chance to edge Nigeria ahead after Ajibade set her up, while Super Falcons goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie had to be at her best to save from Jermaine Seopesenwe.

Nigeria coach Randy Waldrum rang some changes to try and shake things up and get more goals for Nigeria as Esther Okoronkwo came on for Chinwendu Ihezuo, Toni Payne subbed in for Jennifer Echegini while Uchenna Kanu was also pulled out for Rinsola Babajide.

The changes did little to affect the final outcome of the game as it ended in a slim win for Nigeria.

All to play for next week

With Friday’s result, it is all to be played for in the return leg. The winner of the two-legged tie will represent Africa at the Women’s football event at this summer’s Olympic Games in Paris.

In the other African Qualifiers, Zambia and Morocco will battle it out for a spot at the Olympics.

Nigeria line-up: Chiamaka Nnadozie, Osinachi Ohale, Christy Ucheibe, Michelle Alozie, Chidinma Okeke, Halimatu Ayinde, Deborah Abiodun, Jennifer Echegini (Toni Payne), Chinwendu Ihezuo (Esther Okoronkwo), Uchenna Kanu (Rinsola Babajide), Rasheedat Ajibade.

Olympics qualifiers: Super Falcons edge Banyana Banyana, all to play for in second leg
Andrew Randa

Andrew Randa is a veteran Nigerian sports journalist with over 20 years of experience covering the beautiful game across Africa. Andrew served as a Media Officer for Nigeria's U-20 Men's National Team for three years, offering a unique perspective on the future stars of Nigerian football.

Beyond reporting, Andrew is a pioneer in sports graphics creation within Nigeria. His expertise extends to sports kit design, making him a true multi-faceted talent in the African sports landscape.

Andrew's experience is vast, with collaborations encompassing prestigious names like Kickoff, SuperSport, the NFF (Nigeria Football Federation), and the NPFL (Nigeria Professional Football League)