The Super Falcons Saturday evening retained their Africa Women Nations Cup title after a nerve wrecking penalty shootout win over South Africa.
The game ended scoreless after 120 minutes but Nigeria like in the semifinals triumphed from the spots. Izuchukwu Okosi takes a look at the major things noticed from the game…
1. The Falcons Gave Away The Ball A Lot
The Nigerian side were guilty of gifting the South Africans possession with most of their uncompleted passes. That became a major reason why the Bayana Bayana dominated this game.
The Nigerian side resorted to long balls but that route did not yield the desired result in regulation time.
2. Ordega Deserved Woman of The Match
Francisca Ordega was electric in her performance in the final. The Washington Spirit forward was the only genuine threat to unlocking the South African defence with her mazy runs and switch of the wing positions.
The effervescent player was also useful in keeping the youthful South Africans at bay by helping out with defensive duties. She deserved her prize as the best player of the final.
3. Ebi Was A Pillar, Kept Kgatlana, Seoposenwe Quiet
Onome Ebi took no prisoners in the centre of Nigeria’s defence against South Africa.
The duo of Chrestina Kgatlana and Jermaine Seoposenwe caused all sorts of problems for the Nigerian team but Onome Ebi played one of her best games for Nigeria most times snuffing out the threats of the dangerous two.
4. Not Oshoala’s Best of Tournament; No Harsh Criticisms
Asisat Oshoala missed a penalty within regulation time which put her team through the agony of an excruciating extra time and penalty shootout.
The current African Woman Footballer of the Year took a disappointing kick with the ball coming off her calf but there was a bit of cockiness in Oshoala’s run up and the reaction of the South African players who jumped in ecstasy at her said it all.
She had just an ‘okay’ tournament but she will remain a great asset to Nigeria’s national team. Oshoala does not deserve harsh criticisms from fickle minded fans. It was not the best of performance from her but she deserves encouragements and congratulatory messages.
5. The Team May Have Missed Oparanozie In 90 Minutes
Injury stopped Desire Oparanozie from playing in the final. She was subbed off in the semifinals.
Had Oparanozie played against South Africa, perhaps her combinations with Oshoala and Ordega could have created something meaningful for the Falcons in regulation time.