The Banyana Banyana of South Africa defeated the Super Falcons of Nigeria 4-2 to win the maiden edition of the Aisha Buhari Invitational held at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena, Lagos State, Nigeria on Tuesday.
It was an epic show of class for both teams who were tournament’s favourites as they sort to prove their dominance of women football in Africa.
While the Super Falcons remained the commanding team in Africa for long, emerging teams are showing signs of wresting this dominance from them, and the Banyana Banyana are one of the contenders to challenge this dominance for long.
Prior to this encounter, Nigeria defeated Mali 2-0, with two late goals, in the opening game of the tournament, while the South Africans defeated Ghana 3-0 in their first game.
Michelle Alozie, a natural winger converted to a fullback by Coach Randy Waldrum, gifted the South Africans their first goal in the 5th minute via an own goal when she tried to clear Thembi Kgatlana’s cross.
In the 17th minute, Linda Motlhalo scored from the spot after Onome Ebi was adjudged to have handled the ball in the box thereby giving the visitors an upper hand to control proceedings.
Three minutes before the break, the Desiree Ellis’ girls scored the third off a Gabriel Salgado’s drive. The Nigerian girls had a game disallowed midway into the game, though.
With the resumption of hostilities after the break, the Super Falcons pulled one back when Vivian Ikechukwu scored in the 47th minute.
Vivian was on song again scoring her second in the 53rd minute to ignite hopes of an equalizer for the Super Falcons.
While the Waldrum charges were in search of a third and possibly a winning goal, the Banyana Banyana sealed the match with a second penalty by Mamello Makhabane in the 88th minute to lift the cup.
The victory means Banyana Banyana became champions of the maiden Aisha Buhari Invitational garnering maximum points from two games.
The victory is a revenge for their 2018 TotalEnergies Africa Women’s Cup of Nations final defeat to Nigeria in Ghana.
It is also the South Africans’ biggest ever win over the nine-time African winners.
Azuka Edokobi is a Writer , a Farmer, a Supply Chain Expert and an Entrepreneur
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