Nigeria to defend title against South Africa
By Staff Reporter
Nigeria will defend their Women’s Africa Cup of Nations title against South Africa on Saturday in the Ghanaian capital Accra.
Their victories in the semi-finals mean they also clinch places at next year’s Women’s World Cup in France – for Nigeria it will be an eighth appearance while it be a first for South Africa.
The Super Falcons of Nigeria needed penalties to beat Cameroon after a goalless 120 minutes, while South Africa beat Mali 2-0 in the other semi-final.
Cameroon and Mali must now lift themselves for Friday’s third-place play-off that has a World Cup place on offer for the winners.
In the first of the semi-finals, which was a repeat of the last two Nations Cup finals, Nigeria and Cameroon cancelled each other out over 120 minutes.
The main drama of the match came in the post-match spot kicks with Nigeria scoring with all four of their efforts as Ngozi Ebere scored the decisive penalty.
Cameroon were undone by two failed attempts first star player Gaelle Enganamouit’s weak effort was comfortably saved by Nigeria goalkeeper Tochukwu Oluehi and then Genevieve Ngo Mbeleck’s effort went wide.
It was a first penalty shoot-out at the tournament in 10 years and the 10th time that Nigeria have overcome Cameroon in the Nations Cup tournaments.
South Africa’s Banyana Banyana led by captain Janine Van Wyk on her 158th appearance created history for themselves by reaching a first World Cup finals thanks to a goal in each half against Mali,
Both sides had claims for penalties waved away by the referee, Mali claiming a handball and South Africa for a foul.
On the half-hour mark South Africa made a break through after having the majority of possession when Mali failed to deal with a ball in the area which allowed Thembi Kgatlana to stab the ball home beyond goalkeeper Adoudou Konate.
Kgatlana has now scored in all for matches at the tournament so far and takes her tally to five overall and is the leading scorer in Ghana.
Mali kept pushing for an equaliser and their best spells came either side of half-time but in truth both sides struggled to find the crucial and decisive passes around the area that would have created more clear chances.
South Africa made sure of the win with nine minutes left when Lebohang Ramalepe’s effort from wide on the right hand side of the area evaded Konate into top left corner of the net.
The win sparked wild celebrations lead by Van Wyk who said before the tournament it would be an emotional tournament for her and several senior players as it could be the last chance for any of them to qualify for a World Cup
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