The Super Falcons of Nigeria have emerged as the champions of Africa for an amazing ninth time as they beat South Africa’s Bayana Bayana 4-3 in Saturday’s Women’s Africa Cup of Nations final at the Accra Sports Stadium.
Although the Super Falcons have always won all their previous final matches in AWCON, they were pushed to the wire on Saturday as they had to go through the tortuous route of extra time and then penalty kicks before they could win this time.
Just as it was in the semifinal match against Cameroon, Tockhukwu Oluehi was the hero for Nigeria, saving the last kick that denied the South Africans a chance to dethrone the Falcons.
The game ended 0-0 after 120 minutes in Accra although both teams had decent chances to break the deadlock.
The Super Falcons were gifted a big chance late in the second half when goalkeeper Swart brought down Francisca Ordega in the box.
The referee had no option but to point to the penalty spot.
Unfortunately, Asisat Oshoala who stepped up missed the spot-kick as the final dragged to extra time.
The first clear chance at extra time was carved out by Nigeria.
Oshoala trying to redeem her image went past her marker before releasing a shot that was scrambled away by Swart.
The South Africans also created chances of their own through Chrestinah Kgatlana and Linda Motlhalo but goalkeeper Oluehi was as always up and doing.
In the end, the lottery of penalty kicks was required to determine who wears the crown between Nigeria and South Africa.
The Super Falcons started on a wrong footing as Onome Ebi missed her first kick in the shootout.
However, Nigeria still won 4-3 with Ngozi Ebere, Rita Chikwelu, Chinwendu Ihezuo and Chinaza Uchendu converting the next four and Oluehi saving the decisive final kick.
Already, the Falcons have been promised $10,000 each if they win the 2018 AWCON and they would be happy heading to the female World Cup in France next year as African champions again.
Source: Tunde Eludini