The Super Falcons of Nigeria and the Banyana Banyana of South Africa will compete in the final of the TOTAL Women’s Africa Cup of Nations on Saturday after the sides secured victories in their semi-final matches yesterday.
Saturday’s final will be a repeat of the Group B clash between the two sides which the South African’s won 1-0 in Cape Coast on November 18.
While the South Africans beat Mali 2-0 at the Cape Coast Stadium, the defending champions were stretched to their limit by the determined Indomitable Lionesses of Cameroun before booking their ticket to the final with a 4-2 win on penalties after 120 minutes of play after extra time produced no goal.
Both South Africa and Nigeria automatically qualified for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France.
Mali and Cameroun will meet in the third place match at the Accra Sports Stadium on Friday to determine Africa’s third representative at the World Cup.
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After being stretched by the Camerounians during regulation time, the Nigerians maintained their nerves during the tie-breaking shootout, with their captain Onome Ebi, Rasheedat Ajibade, Asisat Oshoala and Ngozi Ebere all converting their kicks.
Nigeria’s goalkeeper Oluehu Tochukwu emerged the heroine of the day as she saved Gaelle Enganamouit’s kick, with Genevieve Ngo Mbeleck shooting wide to condemn the Lionesses to the bronze medal game.
Cameroun enjoyed greater ball possession but failed to convert the numerous chances that fell their way, while they used their physique to uncharacteristically bully their opponents who had few clear chances.
Forwards Gabrielle Aboudi Onguene, Enganamouit Gaelle and Njoya Ajara made attempts at goal but their efforts were mostly thwarted by goalie Oluehi Tochukwu, who made convincing saves for the Nigerians.
In the 34th minute, Rita Chikwelu was dispossessed of the ball close to the box but the Camerounians restrategised and initiated another attack but failed to find the back of the net.
The Nigerians were also gifted with some chances, as Francisca Orgega, Oparanozie and Oshoala made attempts at goal but could not break through the resolute defence of the Camerounians until Referee Lydia Tafesse whistled for the end of the first half.
After recess, the Indomitable Lionesses continued to overwhelm the Super Falcons, matching them boot for boot, but their efforts did not yield the needed results which pushed the game into extra time.