The Super Falcons of Nigeria started their quest for gold in the inaugural Aisha Buhari Cup on a high note on Wednesday, defeating the Mali female Eagles 2-0 in the first match.
The match, which was held at the remodelled Mobolaji Johnson Arena, formerly known as Onikan Stadium, was attended by celebrities such as FIFA President Gianni Infantino and Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
Gift Monday of Lagos-based FC Robo, who was substituted for the injured Desire Oparanozie by coach Randy Waldron, scored a brace in the 83rd and 92nd minutes of the tense match.
The Falcons, who are nine-time African Champions, gave a good account of themselves by breaking down the tenacious Malians, who defended valiantly and also threatened Nigeria through Azeezat Traore.
Meanwhile, Waldrum has admitted that the goals didn’t come early in the game because of the Malians’ high-intensity game, which he was unfamiliar with.
“It was difficult to find videos of the Mali team; the only one I have is from their scouting match against Morocco. They performed admirably and are well-organized.
“We didn’t get off to a good start; the Malians pressed high and were well-managed in the back; we could only find space in the wide.”
“We made some changes in the second half and brought in more players in the midfield because the Malians were dangerous and played long balls.
“The reserves are the game changers,” Waldrum said, “because they brought the needed difference into the encounter.”
Monday expressed her delight at scoring the goals despite playing on familiar ground.
“The fact that I am playing on home soil and proud to represent my country has inspired me the most. As a result, I must give it my all. I followed the coach’s instructions and am proud of my accomplishments.”
CAF President Patrice Motsepe, Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Chairman Amaju Pinnick, and Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) 1st Vice-President Seyi Akinwumi were among the dignitaries who watched the opening match, according to NAN.
Tags : Aisha Buhari Cup , Super Falcons