Banyana Banyana hands Super Falcons 4-2 defeat on home soil to win Lagos Invitational Tournament

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

How are the Mighty Failling…Super Falcons goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie on the ground as teammate Mitchell Alozie scores own goal to gift South Africa first goal in Lagos.

South Africa’s Banyana Banyana Coach Desiree Ellis will for long remain a heroine in Nelson Mandela country after she led her team to beat reigning African Champions Super Falcons of Nigeria 4-2 in the final of the 6-Nation Invitational Tournament decided on Tuesday at Mobolaji Johnson Arena, Onikan, Lagos

The victory is even sweeter for the South Africans as it was achieved right at the home turf of their ‘nemesis’ Nigeria, a country that has on two occasions came to South Africa to lift the African Women Championship (AWC) at their expense.
Banyana Banyana were on the front foot early and were rewarded in the 6th minute when Nigeria’s Mitchell Alozie bundled the ball into her own net from a cross by  Magaia Hildah on counter attack.

South Africans celebrating yet another goal against Nigeria

From that time, the 11-time African Champions, Super Falcons of Nigeria panicked as they put every foot wrong resulting in the South Africans controlling proceedings and were again rewarded when a cross from a South African hit Onome Ebi’s raised right hand in the box as the referee pointed to the spot for a penalty and yellow card issued to Ebi.

Linda Motlhalo stepped up to send Chiamaka Nnadozie of Paris FC to the wrong side for South Africa’s second goal in the 19th minute just as another close pull out by Thembi Kgathlana caused confusion among the Falcons leading to Gabriela Salgado to head into Nigeria’s net in the 44th minute to make it 3-0 at half time.
Expectedly, Falcons Head Coach, Randy Waldrum who made two changes to the team that started Nigeria’s 2-0 victory over Mali by replacing  Ngozi Okobi- Okeoghene and Francisca Ordega with Regina Otu Ibiang and Uchenna Kanu, made four substitutions before the restart of the game.
 The American-born gaffer would have been upset that his
team first chance in the first half was a corner kick by Glory Ogbonna which was headed by the duo of Ebi and Joy Bokiri before Asisat Oshoala’s final header went off target in the third minute.

Shaku Shaky Time..Banyana Banyana star players, Thembi Kgatlana and Linda Motlhalo dancing away in front of Nigerians watching the final showdown of two African top teams.

However, Waldrum brought in Vivian Ikechukwu, Monday Gift, Opeyemi Sunday, and Onyebuchi Ihuoma, all home-based for foreign-based quartet- Uchenna Kanu, Joy Bokiri, Michelle Alozie, and Rita Chikwelu respectively.

The tactical changes were felt instantly as FC Robo’s captain, Monday Gift found  Ikechukwu who tapped into an empty net to pull a goal back for Nigeria in the 47th minute. Six minutes later, the Rivers Angels midfielder, (Ikechukwu) scored a brace to reduce the Super Falcons deficit further in the 54th minute.
Falcons relaxed after Nigeria’s second goal and will conceed again after Ebi gifted Banyana another penalty which was scored by Makhabane Mamello in the 86th minute to condemn Nigeria to a 4-2 defeat by South Africa to win the week-long mini-championship.
Nigeria and South Africa can now concentrate on how to play the 2022 AWCON qualifiers next month.

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