On Monday, June 4 2022 by 6 pm in Rabat, Morocco, the Super Falcons of Nigeria will begin their quest for a fourth consecutive and 10th overall Women’s Africa Cup of Nations title.
Nigeria vs South Africa head to head: Super Falcons’ dominance threatened by Banyana Banyana
The Super Falcons of Nigeria historically have the upper hand over South Africa but recent results prove that Banyana Banyana are catching up.
The quest begins with a difficult game though as South Africa’s Banyana Banyana are the first opponents, setting the tone for the tournament.
The South Africans have a reputation for being the bridesmaids and never the brides having made it to four previous WAFCON finals and failed to win the tournament.
Head to head
These two countries have played each other 13 times in the past and Nigeria historically have the upper hand with seven wins.
South Africa has only managed to get the better of Nigeria thrice while three games between them ended in a stalemate.
History of the games
Nigeria won the first five games between these teams from their first meeting in 2000 which was a 2-0 win that clinched the Super Falcons’ second-ever WAFCON title.
Two years later Nigeria thrashed South Africa 5-0, followed by another 2-0 win in 2006, 1-0 in 2008 and 2-1 win in 2010.
The South Africans broke the cycle in 2012, successfully holding the Super Falcons to two draws in consecutive friendly games which ended 1-1 and 2-2 respectively in June 2012.
Few months later, Banyana would clinch their first win against Nigeria in the 2012 WAFCON semi-final, beating the Falcons 1-0.
Two years later at WAFCON 2014, they met again in the semi-finals but Nigeria exerted revenge as an Asisat Oshoala brace was enough to seal a 2-1 win.
Nigeria then repeated the trick again with another semi-final win in 2016, Desire Oparanozie netted the only goal to send the Super Falcons to the final.
They would meet again at the next WAFCON, twice in Ghana 2018 with each team winning once each.
Thembi Kgatlana’s late goal gave South Africa a 1-0 win against Nigeria in the group stages but the Super Falcons won when it mattered the most.
Their paths crossed again in the final and although regulation time ended goalless which technically makes it a draw, Nigeria won on penalties to seal the ninth WAFCON crown.
The most recent meeting between them was in September 2021 as South Africa defeated Nigeria 4-2 in Lagos at the Aisha Buhari Cup, a friendly invitational tournament.
Banyana catching up?
Although Nigeria have historically dominated this fixture with seven wins and just three defeats in 13 games, a closer look will reveal that the dominance is evaporating.
Five of Nigeria’s seven wins came between 2000 and 2010 in their first five games but the story changed as the South Africans got better.
Nigeria only won two of the subsequent eight games from 2010 till date with the South Africans winning three and three others ending in a draw.
And the Super Falcons have not won any of the last three meetings between these two sides in regulation time, indicating that the game in Rabat is far from a forgone conclusion for Nigeria.