The Super Falcons have a mountain to surmount after they could only draw 1-1 with their counterparts from Equatorial Guinea in an African third round, first leg qualifier for the 2016 Olympics’ Women’s Football Tournament.
Analysts and commentators duly expected Saturday’s clash in Abuja to be keenly –contested, the two teams being the only ones to have triumphed at the African Women Championship that was inaugurated 17 years ago. But not many would have predicted a drawn tie at the National Stadium.
Captained by the veteran Genoveva Anonman, and with a Spaniard, Miguel Anguel as Head Coach, the Equatorial Guineans took the fight to the reigning African champions from the blast of the whistle, and rocked the Nigerian net from a free kick after 23 minutes, though it was side –netting.
Halimatu Ayinde, who will head to Western New York Flash shortly, after the US Women’s Soccer League club signed her on following an impressive outing at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada, shot Nigeria into the lead with a sweet turn and lovely left –footed shot from outside the box.
The game swung from end to end but the Falcons held on to the lone goal lead at half time, only to fail to up their game in the second half. They conceded the equalizer after the visitors made good an opportunity from a counter attack, as the Nigeria defence ball –watched.
The match started with a one –minute silence in honour of the Super Falcons’ media officer, Gracious Akujobi, who passed on two days before the match.
The return leg will come up in Bata on Sunday, 2nd August.