Super Falcons Break 16 Years Jinx to Land in Paris!

 *Waldrum calls for proper preparations for the team to do well in Paris 

Duro Ikhazuagbe

Nigeria’s Super Falcons ended their 16 years wait to make appearance at the 

Women’s Olympic Football Tournament after playing out a goalless draw with South Africa’s Banyana Banyana inside the Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria on Tuesday evening.

The 1-0 slim edge the earned on Friday evening in Abuja was enough to see the nine-time African champions through to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games on 1-0 aggregate.

Goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie was called upon to save from a deep-flying corner as early as the third minute, but in a back-and-forth theme that characterised the entire game, Nigeria was on the front foot immediately after, with Chinwendu Ihezuo seeing her headed ball caught by Kaylin Swart after a cross by captain Rasheedat Ajibade.

Ihezuo failed to connect with a header to Osinachi Ohale’s dipping free-kick in the 27th minute, but then Nigeria breathed better when Thembi Kgatlana made a hash of an opportunity as the Banyana broke forward.

In the second half, Linda Motlhalo, Jermaine Seoposenwe and Nomvula Kgoale proved a handful for The Pride of Africa,as they seized the midfield and got a couple of good passes to their danger-lady, Kgatlana. But at all times, Ohale, Chidinma Okeke, Christy Ucheibe and goalkeeper Nnadozie were alert and unruffled.

Nnadozie, who plays for Paris FC in France, further enhanced her reputation and market value with great saves in the 70th and 86th minutes. In-between, Ihezuo’s flicked header to an Ajibade in-swinger went narrowly away.

The one-goal win on aggregate means the Falcons will participate in the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament for the first time since 2008, and will join Brazil, Spain and Japan in a potentially-explosive Group C in July.

“We did it! We did it! We are finally going to play in the Olympics,” Ajibade said excitedly at the final whistle.

Speaking also after winning the ticket for Nigeria, Super Falcons Coach, Randy Waldrum, called on sports authorities in the country to ensure proper preparation for the team to excel at the Olympic Games.

“ I am happy that we have shamed a sports journalist who was very critical of our team. Now that we have qualified for the Olympics, it is time to ensure proper preparation for the team to do well in France.” Concludes the American gaffer.

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