Nigeria’s Super Falcons will lock horns with their South African counterparts in the 2018 Africa Women’s Cup of Nations (AWCON) final at the Accra Sports Stadium in Ghana’s capital city, Accra, today
The two teams have already booked their tickets to the 2019 FIFA Women World Cup in France, but will battle for supremacy and continental crown.
The perennial rivals met at the group stage of the competition, with South Africa claiming a surprise 1-0 win thanks to a goal from Thembi Kgatlana, the defeat which Falcons are eager to avenge, according to the team goalkeeper, Tochukwu Oluehi.
The Nigerian girls are the most decorated team in the history of the AWCON having dominated the competition to an embarrassing degree, with only Equatorial Guinea breaking their clean sweep on only two in 20 years of its existence.
Nigeria and South Africa have been in the final together once – in 2000, when the South Africans hosted but the Falcons successfully retained the trophy after a 2-0 defeat of the hosts in Johannesburg.
While the whole team worked together for the hard –fought win over Cameroon in the semifinals, special credit go to goalkeeper Tochukwu Oluehi for her calmness and confidence throughout, including stopping Gaelle Enganamouit’s kick in the penalty shoot –out, which lifted the Nigerians’ confidence.
On Saturday, Oluehi would as usual, be protected by the quartet of Josephine Chukwunonye, Onome Ebi, Osinachi Ohale and Ngozi Ebere, with Rita Chikwelu, Halimatu Ayinde and Ngozi Okobi likely to star in the middle, behind Ordega, Oparanozie and Oshoala.
Experience is an advantage standing ramrod on the Nigerian side, but it would not be an easy afternoon against a skillful, creative, energetic and technically –savvy Banyana Banyana side boosted by their 1-0 defeat of the Cup holders in the opening match of Group B in Cape Town, November 18.
Some other positives have put the South African camp in buoyant mood. Victory over Mali in Cape Coast on Tuesday meant the Banyana will make a first –ever appearance at the FIFA World Cup come summer of 2019, and players like Thembi Kgatlana (whose goal put Nigeria to the sword) and Lebohang Ramalepe (sumptuous effort against Mali) are fired up for today’s final.