By Emmanuel Okogba

Nigeria’s Super Falcons failed to hold their own and lost 1-2 to perennial rivals South Africa in their opening game of the Africa Women Cup of Nations on Monday.

Two quick goals proved the difference in what was termed the final before final when the draws were held. Jermaine Seoposenwe who returned to the Banyana Banyana set-up for the first time since 2019 broke the deadlock in the 61st minute before Hildah Tholakele Magaia doubled the lead through an unstoppable shot only two minutes later.

Rasheedat Ajibdate scored deep in stoppage time to grab the consolation.

The win was a demonstration of South Africa’s dominance over Nigeria in recent years. Before Monday’s clash, the Super Falcons had not won or scored against South Africa in the continental showpiece since 2016 when Desire Oparanozie’s goal separated the sides in the semi-final.

Although ageless captain Onome Ebi and Ashleigh Plumptre impressed on the night, it was not enough to stop Desiree Ellis’ charges from grabbing the first three available points in Group C.

Oshoala who was leading Nigeria’s assault was unusually quiet upfront and had to make way for Fransisca Ordega in the 82nd.

The Barcelona forward may need to have a better understanding with strike partner Ifeoma Onumonu heading into the next group game against Botswana on Thursday as their partnership didn’t yield the expected result.

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