15th September, 2021
By Olanrewaju Akojede
Nigeria’s Super Falcons on Wednesday began their quest for gold in the maiden Aisha Buhari Cup on a bright note, beating the Mali female Eagles 2-0 in the opening match.
The match, played at the remodelled Mobolaji Johnson Arena, formerly known as Onikan Stadium, was watched by personalities, including FIFA President, Gianni Infantino and Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State.
Super-sub, Gift Monday, of Lagos-based FC Robo, who was brought on by coach Randy Waldron for the injured Desire Oparanozie, scored the brace in the 83rd and 92nd minutes of the tension-soaked encounter.
Nine-time African Champions, the Falcons gave a good account of themselves by breaking down the stubborn Malians, who defended stoutly and also attacked Nigeria menacingly through Azeezat Traore.
Meanwhile, Waldrum has admitted that the goals didn’t come early in the match because of the high-intensity game from the Malians, whom he knew little or nothing about.
“It was difficult to find videos of the Mali team, the only one I see is their match against Morocco, which I used to scout. They played well and are well-organised.
“We didn’t have a great start; the Malians pressed so high and were well-managed at the back; we can only find space in the wide.
“The Malians are dangerous and played long balls, so, we made some changes in the second half and brought in more players in the midfield.
“The reserves are the game changers because they brought the needed difference into the encounter,” Waldrum said.
Monday said she was happy to have scored the goals, having played on a known terrain.
“What inspired me most is that I am playing on home ground and I am happy to represent my country. So, I have to give my best. I followed the instructions given to me by the coach, and I am proud of the goals.”
NAN reports that CAF President, Patrice Motsepe, Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Chairman, Amaju Pinnick, and NFF 1st Vice-President, Seyi Akinwumi, and among the other notable dignitaries that watched the opening match.