Despite their continued dominance in Africa, the Super Falcons of Nigeria have had troubles facing the Banyana Banyana of South Africa.
Super Falcons of Nigeria suffer embarrassing 4-2 loss to South Africa in an invitational tournament
The Super Falcons of Nigeria were humiliated at home.
The Super Falcons lost to South Africa 1-0 in the group stage of the 2018 Africa Women's Cup of Nations (AWCON) before winning the final of that tournament with a penalty shootout against the same opponent.
While the Super Falcons have not progressed since that game, South Africa have been very deliberate about the growth of their women’s national team.
At the Mobolaji Johnson Arena in Lagos on Tuesday, September 21, 2021, in the final game of the Aisha Buhari Cup, the result was a clear manifestation of the state of both teams since that last meeting.
The South Africans were top the whole game, dismantling the reigning African champion Nigeria in Lagos.
Banyana Banyana were faster, more fluent in their play and the Super Falcons were no match for them.
The Super Falcons started the better side, with Desire Oparanozie creating some problems for the opposition defence while Asisat Oshoala narrowly missed a header from a corner kick.
The game quickly switched in the next play as the South Africans took the lead with their first forward attack of the game.
With a quick movement, the South Africans got the ball to the left from where Magaia Hildah put in a mild cross which was not supposed to be a problem. While scrambling to maintain her position in defence, Michelle Alozie lost her footing and, in the process, swept the ball into the net for an own goal.
The South Africans were top from that moment. Thembi Kgatlana was too fast for the Nigerian defence while she worked the ball towards from the right before firing over the post.
In the 16th minute, their pressure was rewarded with a penalty. A cross went into the box, and with her hands outstretched, veteran defender Onome Ebi handled the ball for a spot-kick which Linda Motlhalo coolly dispatched for a goal.
The Super Falcons responded well in the few minutes after going 2-0 down, but an Oparanozie goal was ruled offside.
The South Africans took more control of the game with a third goal after a sustained pressure.
The goal came before halftime and from good work by Thembi. The South African No. 11 dribbed past Nigerian defender Esther Ogbona before putting in a cross that caused a goal-mouth scramble before Salgado Gabriela headed in for their third goal.
Hurt and humiliated at home in an awful half of football, the Super Falcons put in some spirited performance early in the second half and got a goal back.
The introduction of Vivian Ikechukwu worked out well for coach Randy Waldrum with the Rivers Angels forward scoring for Nigeria immediately after the restart.
Captain Oshoala missed a sitter, but the ball bounced to Ikechukwu for a simple tap in.
In the 52nd minute, she scored another with a fantastic curling effort from outside the box after she dispossessed a South African defender.
With the home support, the Super Falcons pushed for an equaliser but were unsuccessful. They pushed and pushed but ultimately, they didn't have enough quality to beat the South Africans again.
Instead, the visitors scored; the goal was from the penalty spot after Ebi had brought down a South African player who dribbled her inside the box after a brilliant counterattack.
4-2 the game ended for South Africa, who took the inaugural Aisha Buhari Cup title with Super Falcons left to wonder what went wrong.