15 November 2010
Nigeria were crowned CAF African Women’s Championship winners following a 4-2 victory over defending champs Equatorial Guinea in Daveyton outside Johannesburg on Sunday, while South Africa won the playoff for third place, beating Cameroon 2-0.
When Equatorial Guinea ousted the Nigerians in the semi-finals before going on to claim the title two years ago, it was a big upset. However, in South Africa, the Super Falcons were expected to reclaim the title that they had won on every other occasion that it had been contested. They didn’t disappoint.
Victory in the final didn’t come easily, and it took until deep in the second half for the Nigerians to go clear. Bizarrely, it took two own goals by Equatorial Guinea to separate the teams.
Star of the tournament
Nigeria took the lead in the first half when Perpetua Nkwocha, the star of the tournament, struck for the eleventh time in only five matches.
After the break, however, the Nzalang Nacional took the game to Super Falcons and they were eventually rewarded when Caroline Conceicao headed home from close range in the 63rd minute.
Thirteen minutes later Nigeria hit the front again when Ugochi Oparanozie rose high to head the ball into the net.
Shortly after that, the Super Falcons extended their lead with another header, but this one came from Equatorial Guinea’s Noah Nkein whose attempted clearance flew powerfully past her own goalkeeper.
Incredibly, Nigeria’s lead increased on another own goal only four minutes later by Guinean captain Conceicao Carolina.
The defending champions managed a late consolation goal through Bojo Jade, but Nigeria, the most dominant team during the course of the finals, had done the business by then and went on to a 4-2 victory.
Third place playoff
South Africa, runners-up two years ago, faced Cameroon for third place and made sure of the bronze medal with an enthusiastic and forceful display. They were clearly the better side and made Cameroon look like anything but the “Indomitable Lionesses”.
Banyana Banyana took an early lead in the eighth minute after Nthabeleng Modiko had come close to scoring from a free kick. Cameroon failed to clear the danger and when the ball was crossed back into the centre from the left an unmarked Nocawe Skiti was on hand to head home from right in front of goal.
Cameroon’s only chance of the first half fell to Gaelle Enganamouit, who tested Banyana goalkeeper Thoko Mndaweni in the 25th minute with a stinging, dipping drive.
Extended their lead
After forcing a corner, Banyana extended their lead in the 38th minute when Cameroon once again displayed lousy marking from a corner. Amanda Dlamini didn’t even need to leave the ground to head a shot into the net from the far post and put South Africa 2-0 up.
Kylie-Anne Louw created South Africa’s best opportunity in the second half.
She made a nice run, slicing through the centre of Cameroon’s defence as she raced deep into the box. But, just as she found space beyond the defenders and created a one-on-one goalkeeper Fouda Ndongo, she lost control of the ball and had to centre it. Jermaine Seoposenwe shot, but her effort was deflected behind.
After the game, Banyana coach Augustine Makalakalane told Sapa: “I’m happy for the support the people came out and gave us, and the players stayed motivated.”
He refused to single out any player, saying: “I think my outstanding player has been the 21 players in the squad. They’ve played well and given their best.”
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