Nigeria’s Super Falcons defeated South Africa 1-0 in the semi-final of the ongoing 10th African Women Cup of Nations (AWCON) at the Stade Omnisport de Limbe, to set-up another final clash with hosts Cameroon on Saturday.
It was a repeat of the 2014 final in Windhoek, Namibia as Nigeria defeated the Lionesses of Cameroon 2-0 to win the title for a record seventh time at the AWCON finals.
En Avant de Guingamp (Women) forward, Desire Oparanozie scored the only goal from a free-kick at the edge of the box in the 53rd minute to give the Florence Omagbemi tutored team their much needed victory against more determined Bayana Bayana side.
Two shots by midfielder Ngozi Okobi in the first half failed to trouble the Banyana goalie, and in the 33rd minute, Oparanozie blasted over from a free kick in a good position, when it appeared easier to open the scoring.
As happened against the Ghanaians in the group phase, Nigeria forward Asisat Oshoala was denied what appeared a clear penalty with the clock winding down, but the Falcons held on and will travel to Yaounde for Saturday’s championship match.
The South African dominated play in the first-half and were close to scoring on several occasions in the game. In more ways than one, it would appear that Nigeria and Cameroon are presently the strongest nations in women football in Africa. Both represented the continent at last year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup finals in Canada, where the Indomitable Lionesses reached the Round of 16 as the Falcons exited at group stage.
The Lionesses would have part of the bragging rights going into Saturday’s final, based on that feat in Canada, and also for the fact that they defeated the Falcons in the semi finals at the women’s football tournament of last year’s All-Africa Games in Brazzaville. If you add the expected capacity crowd that would be cheering the Lionesses on, an explosive match is at hand to determine the current best team in Africa at the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium.
Earlier in the first semi-final clash, hosts Cameroon also defeated another West African powerhouse, Ghana with a 1-0 scoreline to advance into the final of the tournament. With the 1-0 win, Nigeria is close to retaining the AWCON title and eighth time record win, which is the first in the history of the Africa’s biennial competition.