BERNAT LÓPEZ / ©XTREMFOOTBALL
Nigeriahave maintained their superb CAFWomen’s Africa Cup of Nations record, winning the competition for the ninth time out of 11 attempts. The 2018 continental title came the Super Falcons’ way when they defeated South Africa 4-3 on penalties in a final that ended goalless after extra time.
Thomas Dennerby’s side secured their place at the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019, where they will be joined by Banyana Banyana and Cameroon, who finished third.
The match had ended 0-0 after 120 minutes, with Nigeria’s goalkeeper Tochukwu Oluehi making the trophy-winning save. Experienced midfielder Asisat Oshoala had earlier scuppered the chance to seal a victory for Nigeria in normal time after she missed a penalty.
With no players able to break the deadlock, and tiredness hitting both sides, the drama of the penalty shoot-out followed. It was a terrible start for Nigeria as Onome Ebi hit the post, with Noko Matlou then successfully scoring into the top corner to make it 1-0 to Banyana Banyana.
Ngozi Ebere then scored for Nigeria with Lebohang Ramalepe missing for South Africa. Super Falcons skipper Rita Chikwelu made it 2-1 as Mpumi Nyandeni duly put her penalty away to level the score.
Chinwendu Ihezuo made it 3-2 to the holders, with Mamello Makhabane keeping the drama alive by scoring for South Africa. Chinaza Love Uchendu put Nigeria 4-3 up – with Motlhalo suffering the heartbreak of seeing her shot saved by Oluehi as Nigeria celebrated their triumph.