The Nigeria national women’s football team on Sunday started the defence of their Women Africa Cup of Nations title on a disappointing note as they were pipped by a lone goal by their South African counterparts.
The Super Falcons were seen as the firm favourite ahead of the opening Group B game on Sunday in Cape Coast, Ghana. But they were just a shadow of themselves as they only huffed and puffed for 90 minutes and fired blank all through.
It was Thembi Kgatlana that got the all-important winning goal for Bayana Bayana in the 85th minute as Nigeria are now in a difficult position to progress out of the group phase.
Sunday’s opening match at the Robert Mensah Stadium in Cape Coast 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.
Equatorial Guinea, restored to the tournament after the CAF Appeal Board overturned an earlier decision by the Disciplinary Board to put Kenya in the draw, will clash with Zambia’s Chipolopolo Queens in the day’s second match.
Nigeria are eight-time champions of the Women Africa Cup of Nations and they were hoping to extend their dominance in Ghana after conquering the continent last time out in Cameroon.