The Honourable Minister of Youth and Sports, Hon. Sunday Akin Dare, had a positive first experience watching the Senior Women National Team, Super Falcons since resuming in the post, as he saw the nine –time African champions pip their Algerian counterparts 1-0 in an Olympics qualifying match in Lagos on Tuesday.
Hon. Dare arrived the Agege Stadium in company with the Honourable Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, and alongside the Acting President of Nigeria Football Federation, Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi who received the duo at the airport.
In the event, the Falcons secured a 1-0 win, courtesy of a 57th minute strike off a solo run by Captain Asisat Oshoala. The Algerians were ejected on a 3-0 aggregate defeat, and the Falcons progress to the second round of the Tokyo 2020 African race to play Cote d’Ivoire.
There were a number of misses from the Nigerian side with Amarachi Okoronkwo heaving her shot a little too high in the 6th minute, before goalkeeper Kahina Takenint, who impressed on the evening, saved from Asisat Oshoala. A minute later, Takenint saved as Rasheedat Ajibade curled a smart one from a tight angle. On the quarter hour, Oshoala dashed down the right and sent in a grounder, but the ball went begging for connection.
Six minutes from recess, Yasmine Benlazar headed over the bar as the Algerians threatened.
In the second period, the visitors improved their game, and Lina Khelif, Horiya Affak, Benlazar, Megane Belkhiter, Mounia Houheche and Lyidia Belkacemi were impressive with their ball sense, positioning, ball distribution and anticipation, cutting off the Falcons from doing damage, and looking anything but a team that the Falcons had beaten 2-0 in Blida six days earlier.
It took a strong solo run and finish from Asisat Oshoala, after all-action forward Francisca Ordega intercepted the ball at the halfway mark in the 57th minute, for the Falcons to break the deadlock.
Ngozi Okobi impressed in the middle with clever touches and silky passes, and Oshoala’s teasing crosses kissed the crossbar a couple of times, but Nigeria would not add to the scoreline.
At the end, Sports Minister Dare congratulated the Super Falcons and charged them to continue winning in the race to Tokyo 2020 in order to be one of the teams that will fly Africa’s flag at the women’s football tournament of next year’s Olympics.
He also assured that his tenure would focus on a template of providing the best training facilities for both men and women football players to excel, cater for their welfare and work peacefully and harmoniously with the Nigeria Football Federation to guarantee adequate preparation for Nigerian national teams before international matches and championships.
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