Super Falcons fly past Banyana

By Michael Madyira

Banyana Banyana’s bid to return to the Olympic Games suffered a setback after they were edged 1-0 by Nigeria in the first leg of the final qualifying round at Moshood Abiola Stadium on Friday.

Rasheedat Ajibade’s penalty two minutes before the halftime break sank Desiree Ellis’ girls in Abeokuta.

Following the defeat, Banyana left themselves with some extra work to do and overturn the deficit when they hosted the Super Falcons at Loftus Versfeld on Tuesday.

They are pushing to go back to the Olympics after missing out on qualification for the last edition.

Banyana had captain Refiloe Jane back straight into the starting lineup after nine months away from the national team.

It was a familiar starting team for South Africa with Thembi Kgatlana and Jermaine Seposenwe leading their attack while being backed by attacking midfielders Hilda Magaia and Linda Motlhalo.

Noko Matlou and Bongeka Gamede partnered in central defence and did not worry much as Nigeria’s danger star Asisat Oshoala surprisingly started from the bench.

The hosts dominated the early exchanges, with Banyana goalkeeper Kaylin Swart being called to deny Uchenna Kanu after eight minutes while Chinwendu Ihezuo also came close.

After managing to survive some waves of Nigerian attacks, Banyana finally gave in under pressure with Matlou fouling Ihezuo inside the box to earn the home side a penalty.

Ajibade made no mistake and beat Swart to hand her side the lead.

Early into the second half, Swart saved a Kanu effort but Banyana were the more determined side after the restart.

Seoposenwe’s long-range shot then forced a brilliant save from Nigeria goalkeeper Nadozie Chiamaka who became very busy.

The hosts managed to hold on to their slim lead and will look to finish off Banyana on Tuesday.

Pictured above: Super Falcon players celebrate Rasheedat Ajibade’s goal against Banyana Banyana.

Image source: Super Falcons

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