Bragging Rights at Stake as Nigeria, South Africa Clash in Lagos 6-Nation Invitational Tournament Final

By Harry Awurumibe, Africa’s No.1 Women’s Football Journalist

Give Way. ..Super Falcons midfield meastro Rita Chikwelu out muscle Banyana Banyana danger woman , Thembi Kgatlana in Ghana 2018 final.

South Africa rather than Ghana or Cameroon is fast daring Nigeria as any football encounter between  both countries’ senior women’s teams in the recent time evokes alot of emotions like in today’s final match of the 6-Nation Invitational Tournament slated for Mobolaji Johnson Arena, Onikan, Lagos.

Nigeria’s Super Falcons, the reigning African Champions and the runners-up Banyana Banyana of South Africa will once again trade tackles in Lagos today with the Nigerians having a home court advantage over the ‘Girls’ from Nelson Mandela country.
Last week both Super Falcons and Banyana Banyana won their fisrt matches of the Lagos mini-championship with Nigeria earning 2-0 victory over Mali’s Les Aiglonnes (Female Eagles) with Gift Monday’s brace while South Africa hit Ghana’s Black Queens 3-0.
With this in mind, both countries will like to up the ante in the final match today at the magnificent Mobolaji Johnson Arena, Onikan, if only to impose superiority over the other.

Super Falcons celebrating one of their goals against Mali last week in Lagos.

But true followers of women’s football in the African continent can testify that South Africa rather than Ghana or Cameroon is fasting becoming Nigeria’s arch-rivals if the recent results are anything to rely upon.

The last time out at Accra Sports Stadium in the final of the African Women’s Cup of Nations (AWCON) Ghana 2018, it took a 4-3 penalty shootout after the regulation time for Nigeria to defeat South Africa to lift the trophy for the 11th time ( if the 1991 and 1995 triumphs are added).
Before the Accra final showdown,  Banyana Banyana had shocked Super Falcons 1-0 courtesy of Chrestinah Thembi Kgatlana’s 85th minute goal in the Group B tie at Cape Coast Stadium.
For the above reasons, Head Coach Desiree Ellis, Best Coach of the Year Award Winner, has her work cut out for her as she will ask the Banyana Banyana to go after the Super Falcons’ ‘jugular’ to avenge the recent AWCON final defeat after coming so close in Accra, Ghana.
Ellis who was bullish after her team demolished Black Queens of Ghana in the first match last week, is experienced in the African football to cause Nigeria troubles when both nations’ teams clash today.
South Africa has experienced players including the Banyana captain, Janine van Wyk, who helped her team, after five failed expeditions, to get their first victory ever against the Super Falcons in 2012 AWCON at the Nkoantoma Stadium in Equatorial Guinea before the 2018 win in Cape Coast.
Aside the two defeats of Super Falcons in as many meetings, South Africa has been holding the short end of the stick as the West Africans have big edge over South Africa since both met the first time as Nigeria hit South Africa 4-0 on March 4, 1995 at Lekan Salami/ Adamasingba Stadium, Ibadan.
The return leg two weeks later on March 18, 1995 was worse as
South Africa suffered 7-1 whitewash in the hands of Nigeria in
Subsequently, Super Falcons have  beaten Banyana Banyana until the recently hence the match today in Lagos will be a winner takes all, at least for prestige sake.
However, Super Falcons Head Coach, Randy Waldrum is upbeat of a victory over South Africa as he has promised to make little adjustments here and there to be able to subdue the South Africans.
His camp is staturated with stars from the best Women’s Football Leagues across the world and the 19 of them invited from over-sea countries are ready to do battle against a strong South African team.
Team captain and FC Barcelona feminine forward, Asisat Oshoala will  again lead the line for Super Falcons while defence marshal Onome Ebi, midfield dynamo Rita Chikwelu and youthful goalkeeper will feature in the tie.

Banyana Banyana players in celebration party in Lagos last week. Can they dance today?

Depending on who Coach Waldrum will give a nod to start, Super Falcons have enough weapons in the armoury to do damage like they did against Mali in the first match last Wednesday.

Indeed, the die is cast and bragging rights will be at stake at the iconic Onikan Waterfront Stadium where many historic matches have been played by many Nigeria teams in the past except the Super Falcons.
**Head-to-Head Matches of Falcons and Banyana**
FIFA Women’s World Cup Qualifiers:
1-March 4,1995: Nigeria 4-1S/Africa Ibadan, Nigeria
2-March 18, 1995: S/Africa 1-7 Nigeria, Johannesburg, SA
Final Round: Agg.
Nigeria 11–2 South Africa
**AWC Results*
1-NGR 2-0 SA-2000 in Boksburg, SA
2- NGR 5-0  – 2002 in Oghara, Delta
3- NGR 2-0  -2006    in Oleh, Delta
4- NGR 1-0  -2008   in Bata, Eq.Guinea
5- NGR 2-1 -2010      in Daveton, SA
6-NGR 0-1 -2012    in Bata, Eq.Guinea
7- NGR 0-1 -2018  in Cape Coast, Gh
8- NGR 4-3 -2018
(pen) in Accra, Ghana.

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