The Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Sunday Dare, Tuesday, urged the Super Falcons to raise their heads up in spite of the 2-4 defeat by the Banyana Banyana of South Africa at the just-concluded Aisha Buhari Cup.
Mr Dare stated this when he visited the subdued Randy Waldrum-coached ladies in the dressing room after a disappointing result against the South African team.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Banyana Banyana emerged as the winners of the Aisha Buhari Cup after they clipped the Super Falcons wings.
The highly entertaining match was played at the newly renovated Mobolaji Johnson Arena, formerly Onikan Stadium.
Mr Dare urged the Super Falcons to prepare for the next challenge ahead of them.
“You have the potentials, but there are some lessons to be learned here and I’m sure it has been learned.
“l am glad that you did not sustain any injury so that you can continue to play for your club and your country.
“Raise your heads up, you have proven yourselves and you will have more opportunities and give yourself a challenge for the next matches,” he said.
The President, Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick, also said that the defeat should not be seen as a setback, but as proof that the Super Falcons were no more invincible.
He also assured the team of the NFF support: “No matter what happens, NFF will always support you as a team, you have played with a purpose.
“The take-home is that we are no more invincible and we need to up our games.
“With the NFF support, you have the necessary training scheduled, the one in Turkey, the U.S., and Australia. Government will do everything in its power to support you.
“You need to give yourselves the challenge, beat Ghana home and away, also beat Cote d’Ivoire home and away, clean yourself up and forget about today’s match,” Mr Pinnick said.
NAN reports that the Super Falcons conceded thrice in the first half of the match before they came back with a brace in the second half, only for the Banyana Banyana to put the icing on the cake.
The South Africans took the lead courtesy of an own goal by Nigeria’s Alozie Chidi in the first five minutes of the game.
The Desiree Ellis-tutored team were surprisingly two goals up by the 17th minutes after a foul in the box 18-yard by Nigeria’s Onome Ebi resulted in a penalty.
The pressure on the Nigerian side resulted in the third goal in the first half of the game as Salgado Gabriel pounced on a loose ball just before the halftime whistle.
The Super Falcons, however, came out stronger in the second half to reduce the scoreline through the efforts of the substitute Vivian Ikechukwu in the 47th minute.
Ikechukwu made it a brace in the 52nd minute to rekindle her team’s hope of a comeback.
The Banyana Banyana confidence was rewarded with the second penalty of the day when Motlhalo was brought down inside the box for Mamello Makhabane to send the ball into the far corner of the Nigerian goal.
The goal put the South Africans back in full throttle as they went ahead to lift the Aisha Buhari Cup and silence the boisterous Lagos fans.
The special guest of honour and Chief host, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, the Minister of Sports, and NFF President presented the trophy to the Banyana Banyana.
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