The Super Falcons of Nigeria were expected to announce themselves in a big way in their opening game of the Women Africa Cup of Nations on Sunday but instead they were a sorry sight to behold and at the end they were pipped by a lone goal by their South African counterparts.

The Nigerian side was the defending champions and went into the game with a scorecard of 13 previous wins two drawn games and a loss to South Africa.

All the previous record held by the Falcons counted for less as Thembi Kgatlana got the all-important winning goal for Bayana Bayana in the 85th minute of Sunday's encounter at the Robert Mensah Stadium in Cape Coast.

Thus, Sunday’s loss was the second the Nigerian women’s team suffered from South Africa in 18 encounters.

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The last time South Africa beat Nigeria was in 2012.

The Super Falcons were punished for the many goal chances wasted in the course of the game and thus have an Herculean task going into their next fixtures against Zambia on Wednesday.

This is the first time Nigeria lost an opening match of a competition that they had dominated since inception 20 years ago.

Sunday’s opening match is important to both teams as the restoration of Equatorial Guinea – another strong side in African women football – to the finals means fierce battles in Group B for the two tickets to the championship’s last four.

Only the top three finishers in Ghana will fly Africa’s flag in France next year summer.


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