Monday, May 27, 2024
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Banyana Olympics Dream Crushed

Nigeria’s Super Falcons will compete at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, after their 1-0 aggregate win over South Africa in two legs of their qualifiers.

Nigeria won 1-0 at home in the first leg while the second leg ended in a goalless draw at Loftus stadium on Tuesday evening. Rasheedat Ajibade’s penalty from the first leg in Abuja was enough for Nigeria end their 16-year absence from the Games.

Banyana Banyana Coach Desiree Ellis made two changes to the team that started in the first leg bringing in Noxolo Cesane for Hilda Magaia and Nomvula Kgoale for Noko Matlou, while there were no changes for Nigeria.

The visitors showed intention to score as early as the fourth minute. Ajibade found Chinwendi Ihezuo who headed into Kaylin Swart’s hands. In the 13th minute Abiodun Ajibola took a shot from range but it went wide.

Banyana had their first real shot in the 19th minute when Jermaine Seoposenwe found Cesane, who took a powerful shot which was saved by the Nigerian goalkeeper and the referee blew it offside.

Three minutes before the half hour mark the visitors won a set-piece outside their half Okeke Chidinma took it and crossed to Grace Kanu whose head missed the target. Nigeria could have broken the deadlock four minutes to the break with a beautiful team build up but Lebo Ramalepe who was playing her 100th match for Banyana, did well to clear a dangerous ball from Kanu in the box.

There were no changes to Banyana’s side in the second stanza. Two minutes into the half Karabo Dhlamini found Thembi Kgatlana whose efforts went wide.

The African champions started to play better and with intent after the introductions of Magaia and Sinoxolo Cesane. Their good play was almost rewarded in the 69th minute, Seoposenwe passed to captain Refiloe Jane who found Sinoxolo in the box, however Chiamaka Nnadozie out her body on the line to make a save.

This is the second successive Games Banyana are missing. Meanwhile the nine-time African champions will compete in Group C alongside world champions Spain, Japan and Brazil.

Lethabo Kganyago
Lethabo Kganyago
Lethabo Kganyago is currently working as a web and newspaper writer for iDiski Times. This award-winning sports journalist covers the Limpopo area and also specialises in coverage of women's football, including Banayana Banyana.