Defending champions Nigeria will take on hosts Cameroon in the final match of the 10th Women’s Africa Cup of Nations on Saturday, after beating South Africa’s Banyana Banyana 1-0.
Cameroon got the better of Ghana 1-0 in the first semi-final match at the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium in Yaounde on Tuesday, with a second half strike.
Nigeria, some moments later, did same against the Banyana Banyana of South Africa at the Stade Omnisports in Limbe on Tuesday.
Top scorer at the last edition of the competition in Namibia, Desire Oparanozie scored her second goal of the tournament.
It was a bullet shot from a free-kick at the edge of the penalty box, but it was enough to send the Super Falcons into the final for the eighth time.
Two shots by midfielder Ngozi Okobi in the first half failed to trouble the Banyana goalkeeper Andile Dlamini.
In the 33rd minute, Oparanozie blasted over from a free-kick in a good position, when it appeared easier to open the scoring.
She however made up for that eight minutes into the second half.
From a similar position, she opted for a rocket, which took a deflection before flying past Dlamini.
Right back Ugo Njoku bagged a yellow card for time wasting with 11 minutes to go, and nearly scored an own goal four minutes later.
This was when she headed a Banyana free-kick backwards and goalkeeper Alaba Jonathan had to be alert.
As it was against the Ghanaians in the group phase, Nigeria forward Asisat Oshoala was denied what appeared a clear penalty kick with the clock winding down.
But the Falcons held on and will travel to Yaounde for Saturday’s championship match.
For the second successive tournament, it would be Nigeria against Cameroon in the final.
At the last edition, the Super Falcons defeated the neighbours to the east 2-0 in Windhoek to emerge champions.
In more ways than one, it would appear that Nigeria and Cameroon are presently the strongest nations in women football in Africa.
Both represented the continent at last year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup finals in Canada, where the Indomitable Lionesses reached the Round of 16 as the Falcons exited at group stage.
The Lionesses would have part of the bragging rights going into Saturday’s final, based on that feat in Canada.
In addition to this was the fact that they defeated the Falcons in the semi-finals at the women’s football tournament of last year’s All-Africa Games (AAG) in Brazzaville, Congo.
With the expected capacity crowd which would be cheering the Lionesses on, an explosive match is at hand to determine Africa’s current best team at the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium.(NAN)