Super Falcons Depart for Mother-of-All-Battle with Banyana in Pretoria

 Duro Ikhazuagbe
After gaining a slim 1-0 advantage over South Africa last Friday in Abuja, the Super Falcons will depart Lagos this evening for Johannesburg en-route Pretoria where they will battle Banyana Banyana in the return leg fixture of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games qualification on Tuesday evening.

Rasheedat Ajibade scored from the spot to give the nine-time African champions the edge.

The South Africans who are desperate to grab the ticket at stake, are dragging Super Falcons to play the crucial second leg in high altitude venue inside the Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria that they hope will give them the advantage.

Banyana Banyana Head Coach Desiree Ellis, is exuding confidence that her wards will overturn the deficit.

 “Look, we said it was going to be a tight game but we are hopeful of overturning this result in the second leg.

“We are still in the game. We created a couple of chances, a penalty decided the match but the game is not over. I thought in the second half we raised our game a lot and created good chances and could have equalised. Maybe we could also have gotten a penalty at the end when Jermaine (Seoposenwe) was fouled but I’m very proud of the team,” said Ellis before departing Lagos after the first leg in Abuja.

In what appears bulk-passing of blame, Super Falcons Coach, Randy Waldrum, exonerated himself from the untidy training programme that led to key members of the Nigerian team arriving their Abuja camp a day before the clash with South Africa last Friday.

While Banyana Banyana were already settled in Abuja for the first leg of the playoffs since Sunday, the Super Falcons’ overseas call-ups trickled into camp leisurely right up to a day before the epic encounter.

Asisat Oshoala, Chinwendu Ihezuo and Esther Okoronkwo reported to the camp Thursday, just a day before the crucial first leg.

“I am not the one who sets up the camp. That’s above me,” the American coach responded when asked about the shabby build up of his team before they eventually edged past Banyana Banyana 1-0 on Friday.

Despite the narrow 1-0 home win,  Okoronkwo insisted yesterday that she is very confident the Super Falcons will seal qualification to the Paris 2024 Olympics in South Africa.

 “There is no question of losing because we will cope in the second leg,” expressed a confident Okoronkwo at the weekend.

Nine-time African champions Nigeria last qualified for the Olympics in 2008 at the Beijing Games.

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