The Super Falcons of Nigeria's have surrendered their African title after losing their semifinal match 1-0 to the Banyana Banyana of South Africa at the 8th African Women's Championship holding in Equatorial Guinea.
In the game watched by a noisy crowd in Bata, the South Africans won courtesy of a 30th minute strike by defender, Jamine van Wyk, whose shot from a close to half way line, beat goalkeeper Precious Dede, who also sustained injury after crashing with the post, in her attempt to tip the ball over. Dede was attended to by medics, after being injured but luckily for her, she recovered in time to continue the game
Her attempt failed as the Banyana celebrated the goal, which has put them in the final, where they play hosts, Equatorial Guinea, who earlier on defeated Cameroon 2-0, to book their passage to Saturday's final, where they hope to win their second title, after their last triumph in the 2008 edition, which they also hosted and won.
This is the second time that the Falcons have failed to advance to the final of the continent's flagship tournament for women. The last time was in 2008, which Equatorial Guinea hosted and won.
But yesterday's loss to Banyana, was the first time that the Nigerians were losing to the South Africans at the AWC. In all; fairness, the South Africans played better, were more composed than their more successful foes, who have won seven of the eight past AWC.
The Nigerians, coached by Kadiri Ikhana, a two-time Champions League winner with Enyimba, lacked direction and looked out of place as they chased after the game, rather, than score goals.
They made life easy for the South Africans, who looked dangerous on the counter, as they tried to consolidate on the 30th minute goal by van Wyk, who plays professional football for Palace Super Falcons. Their goalkeeper, Andile Diamin was untroubled in the match.
Five minutes of added time in the first half plus three minutes for stoppage time in the second half, were not enough for the likes of Perpetua Nkwocha, Stella Mbachu, Esther Sunday, Ebere Orji and Onome Ebi to score the equaliser and take the game to extra time.
With Nigeria really up against it in the dying minutes, a worried Ikhana, who had never coached a female team before in his life,who appeared clueless as to what to do to turn the table around, pranced around, barking out orders, which failed to change the tide, marking a shameful end to Nigeria's defence of the crown.