2018 Women’s AFCON: South Africa, Zambia record historic victories

Author: Beatrice Laryea
The South Africans celebrating their victory over the Nigerians

The Super Falcons of Nigeria began their title defence with a 0-1 loss to the Bayana Bayana of South Africa in their opening Group B game played at the Cape Coast Stadium on Sunday.

Nigeria, who have won eight out of the ten editions of the competition, were beaten by an impressive South African side courtesy a distinguished solo effort by Thembi Kgatlana just five minutes to regulation time.

Striker Desire Oparanozie had come close for the defending champions but missed that golden opportunity after she had received a pass from Asisat Oshoala in the first half.

In a post-match interview, Nigeria's head coach, Thomas Dennerby told CAF official tournament website that he was "very disappointed" and that "it would have been fair if the game had ended in a draw."

On the other hand, Dennerby's South Africa counterpart, Desiree Ellis, described Kgatlana's goal as "a moment of brilliance" and said "the victory is not only for us but for the people back at home."

In the other Group B match, Zambia recorded an emphatic 5-0 win over former champions Equatorial Guinea.

Zesco FC striker Grace Chanda and Ireene Lungu put the Shepolopolo up by 2-0 ahead of recess before Mary Mwakapila and Rachael Kundanaji added a goal and a brace respectively to give the Zambians a resounding victory.

The Copper Queens totally outclassed the Equatorial Guineans who appeared unprepared following their late reinstatement into the competition after winning an appeal.

Equatorial Guinea qualified for the tournament but the Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) replaced them with Kenya for fielding an ineligible player.

The Zambians currently lead the Group B table with three points followed by the South Africans due to goal difference. Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea follow in that order.