Nigeria’s Super Falcons confirmed their dominance on the African stage as they defeated visiting Cape Verde 5-0 yesterday in the first leg of their last-round 2024 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
The Super Falcons dominated the game from the start at MKO Abiola Stadium, dominating the tempo and creating multiple scoring chances.
Uchenna Kanu, with a first-half brace, and substitute Esther Okoronkwo, with a second-half brace, swept the nine-time African champions into a comfortable lead in the fixture and all but earned a place in the finals slated for Morocco in the summer of next year.
Gift Monday rocked the bar from a 22-yard free-kick in the 4th minute before Kanu reaped from a goalmouth melee that followed a corner kick to slot past goalkeeper Jacinta Rodrigues. Rodrigues did better two minutes later when she palmed a left-footed angled drive from captain Rasheedat Ajibade.
In the 14th minute, Kleydiana Borges came close with a shot that was charged down by Oluwatosin Demehin, and five minutes later, Toni Payne missed from close range to let off the Cape Verdeans. However, Gift Monday made good from another goalmouth melee in the 25th minute, to make it two for the hosts at the MKO Abiola National Stadium.
Petite midfielder Deborah Abiodun, whose turns, swerves and sweet touches were a delight all evening, came close with a 25-yard volley on the half-hour mark, but Kanu made good again just before the break, making no mistake from a pass from Toni Payne on a swift counter-attack launched by Ajibade.
In the second period, the Falcons again completely dominated, with Okoronkwo lifting the ball past Rodrigues in the 67th minute from a cross by Ajibade from the right, and then shot past the visiting goalkeeper from a Rofiat Imuran cross from the left with 13 minutes left.
With this dominant performance, the Super Falcons have put one foot in the 2024 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations, which will be held in Morocco.
They will travel to Praia for the second leg on 5 December, aiming to complete the double and secure their place in the continental tournament in grand style.
Meanwhile, the Super Eagles of Nigeria have dropped by two spots in the latest FIFA ranking to place 42nd in the world.