The Super Falcons of Nigeria successfully defended their CAF Africa Women’s Cup of Nation (AWCON) on Saturday after defeating hosts Cameroon 1-0 in front of a sell-out stadium crowd in Yaounde.
Desire Oparanozie’s strike six minutes to the full time whistle got the African queens the winner in a game where the Nigerians were not so impressive and out played by the Indomitable Lionesses.
Cameroon lost 2-0 to the Falcons in the final game of the 2014 edition in Namibia and wanted their pound of flesh impressing with series of chances lost before the hour mark.
The Lionesses intentions were clear from the kick off and as early as the 4th minute, Gabrielle Onguene dribbled her way past the Nigerian defence but was stopped by the goalkeeper Alaba Jonathan.
Midfielder Ngozi Okobi would have opened scoring for Nigeria minutes later but she shot well wide and off target and Nigeria’s slow start to the game continued after the miss.
Chance after chance fell to the hosts, with Ngono Mani, Ngock Yango, Gabrielle Oungene and Gaelle Enganamouit all having four clear shots on target as against none for the Super Falcons in the entire first half.
The game was contrast of what the Falcons had shown all through the championship, as they were a shadow of themselves in Yaounde.
Nigeria’s attack led by Arsenal Ladies’ Asisat Oshoala barely had a charge at goal let alone aim at goalkeeper Ngo Ndom. In the second half, the Falcons faced a more serious charge from their hosts, but a super defensive display from the duo of Onome Ebi and Osinachi Ohale ensured the game stayed scoreless.
In the 57th minute, a rather poor Asisat Oshoala not playing at her best, lost the ball in the midfield allowing Onguene to launch another onslaught on the Nigerian defence, but Jonathan again saved Nigeria’s blushes.
Chioma Wogu was thrown into the fray to replace Washington Spirits’ Francisca Ordega in the 65th minute. The change brought pep and some urgency into the fore of the Falcons, with Oparanozie getting the needed support she so much craved.
The Falcons finally got the game’s only goal, the cup–winning strike coming in the 86th minute when Oparanozie met up with a lob from impressive Ngozi Okobi, and she coolly slotted home.
The goal was greeted with total silence inside the Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo, filled to its over 40,000 capacity.
Ghana, whose Black Queens won the bronze after pipping South Africa on Friday, wil host the 2018 Women Africa Cup of Nations finals.