Super Falcons Set for Winner-takes-it-all Clash with S’Africa Tonight

Duro Ikhazuagbe 

Nigeria’s Super Falcons will tackle their Banyana Banyana counterparts in a winner-takes-it-all clash inside the Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria this Tuesday night with the mindset of sustaining a record of never having lost to South Africa in that country in senior women’s football.

Tonight’s game is scheduled to  kick off at 7.30pm South African time (6.30pm Nigeria time).

 After the slim 1-0 advantage Falcons earned in Abuja last Friday, Randy Waldrum and his wards know the Paris 2024 Olympic Games women’s football event ticket is not secured yet. It is for them to take even as the host country will not be easy prey. Yet, history favours Nigeria to triumph and smile away with the ticket in the bag.

Since March 19, 1995 when the Super Falcons humiliated the Banyana Banyana 7-1 in front of their own fans in Johannesburg in a FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifying match, the gap between both countries have been narrowed to warrant the South Africans to dream of shock treatment for Nigeria. Yet, the fact remains that the Banyana are still looking for a first win over the Falcons in any match played in South Africa.

In 24 previous encounters (with seven played in South Africa), Nigeria have won 15, with five ending in draws and South Africa winning on four occasions. One of the drawn games was the final match of the 11th Women Africa Cup of Nations, which Nigeria eventually won 4-3 after a penalty shootout in Accra.

South Africa’s four wins have been in Bata, Equatorial Guinea (1-0, 2012 Women AFCON); Cape Coast, Ghana (1-0, 2018 Women AFCON); Lagos, Nigeria (4-2, Aisha Buhari Cup) and; Rabat, Morocco (2-1, 2022 Women AFCON).

Of the seven previous encounters inside South Africa, Nigeria have won five, drawing two. The only times the Banyana have been able to hold the Falcons in South Africa were on 12th March 2004 (Athens Olympics qualifier which ended 2-2) and a friendly match on 3rd June 2012 that ended 1-1.

However, with the rapid growth of the women’s game in the continent, Super Falcons cannot rely on history alone tonight. They need to get the job done with all seriousness. After the fairytale run at the last women’s World Cup Down Under in Australia last year, it is only fitting for Super Falcons to end the 16-year No-show at the Paris Games this 2024 summer.

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