Paris 2024 Olympics: Nigeria’s Super Falcons one step away to secure Africa’s ticket

Nigeria’s Super Falcons on Monday evening secured their place in the final round of the 2024 Summer Paris Olympics Qualifiers with a hard-fought 1-0 win over the Indomitable Lionesses of Cameroon in their second leg match at the Moshood Abiola Stadium in Abuja.

The first leg in Douala ended in a goalless draw, which gave Nigeria a slight advantage heading into the second leg.

The Super Falcons made the most of this advantage and took the lead in the 14th minute through Esther Okoronkwo.

Okoronkwo, who started ahead of Asisat Oshoala in the starting line-up, hit the target following a goalmouth scramble.

Randy Waldrum’s side piled more pressure on the Indomitable Lionesses carving out further chances.

Okoronkwo later wasted a glorious chance to double Nigeria’s lead six minutes before the break.

The attacker was set up by a delightful long ball from defender Ashleigh Plumptre but she blasted over the bar.

The Super Falcons made a substitution four minutes before the break with Halimat Ayinde replacing Oluwatosin Demehin.

No goal was recorded in the second half as the Indomitable Lionesses fought back, but Nigeria held on for the win.

Nigeria won the two-legged tie 1-0 on aggregate.

The Super Falcons will likely face South Africa in the final round of the qualifiers slated between 1st and 9th April 2024.

Recall that South Africa hold a 3-0 advantage against Tanzania from the third round first leg tie a few days ago.

The Banyana Banyana will host Tanzania in the second leg third round tie on Tuesday and the winner will face Nigeria in the final round qualifiers’ clash.

The winner of that match will qualify for the 2024 Summer Paris Olympics, which will take place from July 26 to August 11, 2024 in France.

The Super Falcons, who will be hoping to make a run for a medal in Paris, last graced the Olympic stage back in 2008.

They crashed out at the group stage in China.

Speaking with newsmen, Isa Saleh Sadiq, a football scout and the CEO of International Football Academy based in Northern Nigeria, described the Super Falcons’ win over Cameroon as a positive development for the country’s football.

According to him, Waldrum’s side put in a dominant display against the visitors, adding that the coach’s decision to start Okoronkwo ahead of Asisat Oshoala in the attack paid off.

“The Super Falcons’ hard-fought win against the Indomitable Lionesses of Cameroon is a positive development for Nigerian football,” Sadiq said.

“The team’s performance is commendable as they put up a dominant display for most of the match.

“I’m happy that the coach’s decision to start Esther Okoronkwo paid off with the only goal of the match.”

Sadiq also lamented the chances Super Falcons squandered against Cameroon.

He added: “The squandering of many chances is a cause for concern against stronger opposition.

“The team’s focus now shifts to the final round where they will likely face South Africa, whom they have had a long-standing rivalry with.

“It promises to be a thrilling match, and the Super Falcons would need to be at their best to secure a slot in the [2024 Summer Paris] Olympics,” he further started.

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