The Super Falcons have made a grand entrance into Morocco for the 13th Women’s Africa Cup of Nations, securing their spot spectacularly. In the final round of the qualification series, Nigeria, a nine-time champion, triumphed over hosts Cape Verde with a 2-1 victory, resulting in an impressive 7-1 aggregate win.
The match at Santiago-Estádio Nacional Cabo Verde in Praia witnessed a fiery start from the hosts, who swiftly raided the Super Falcons’ goal area. In the 9th minute, Ivania Tavares Moreira successfully scored, putting the Cape Verde team in an early lead. The Cape Verdeans, sensing the opportunity to achieve the unexpected, continued their offensive, earning corner kicks along the way. However, the resilient Super Falcons, motivated by the cheers of the Nigerian community in the stands, successfully repelled the attacks and launched some counter-attacks of their own.
Despite the Nigerians eventually gaining ascendancy with several corner kicks and free-kicks, the score remained unchanged as both teams entered halftime. In the second half, Coach Justin Madugu made strategic substitutions, bringing in Esther Onyenezide and the clinical Esther Okoronkwo for Peace Efih and Uchenna Kanu. Okoronkwo, known for her seriousness on the field, had a goal disallowed for offside 11 minutes into the second half.
Six minutes later, Okoronkwo redeemed herself by scoring and levelling the match. Captain Rasheedat Ajibade had a near miss in the 71st minute, and substitute Rinsola Babajide’s attempt at her first international goal narrowly missed the target by inches in the 81st minute.
However, Ajibade had the last say, scoring three minutes into added time and securing victory for Nigeria. This overwhelming aggregate win solidifies the Super Falcons’ status as the team to beat in the upcoming finals next year.
What’s your impression of this qualification?