Super Falcons gunning to down Banyana BanyanaThomas Kwenaite
By Andile Dladla
The Nigerian Super Falcons, which is the senior women national team of Nigeria, have a mountain to climb against the South African senior national team in the Aisha Buhari International Cup in Lagos today.
Although Nigeria quickly established dominance over South Africa when Banyana Banyana were re-admitted to international football during 1992, the South Africans seems to be slowly turning the table during the last couple of years with results between the two countries very close indeed.
While the appointment of former captain Desiree Ellis as coach has been a turning point, the increasing number of Banyana Banyana players signing professional contracts with overseas clubs has also tilted the scales to an extend where there is a little margin now separating the two teams.
Nigeria opened their account with an impressive one-sided victory over fellow West Africans Mali 2-0 while South Africa were completely dominant over Ghana, defeating the Black Queens 3-0 to set up a mouth-watering clash against Nigeria.
Michelle Alozie, the American born Super Falcon midfielder who plays her football for Houston Dash and attends the university of Tennessee, is proud to be part of the team in a six-nation tournament that also include Ghana, Morocco, Cameroon, Mali and South Africa.
“These are some of the best football playing nations in Africa,” said Alozie who despite being born in the land of stars and stripes, has always wanted to play for the Super Falcons where she forms a deadly combination with FC Barcelona’s Asisat Oshoala.
Alozie said the Aisha Buhari tournament is important because it is preparatory for the upcoming African Women Nations Cup tournament which is set to double up as a World Cup qualifier as well.
The Nigerian team is in a rebuilding phase an the tournament allows the technical team the opportunity to fiddle around with combinations while it also gives the girls a chance to get to know each other better and gel as a team.
On the eve of this crucial match against their perennial rivals South Africa, Alozie took the opportunity to encourage people to vaccinate for the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The atmosphere is different and amazing with the government and all parties involved in encouraging citizens to get vaccinated in order to be able to attend sporting events like the ‘Buhari cup’.
The future certainly looks bright ahead of the 24 year old Super Falcon member who earned only her fourth cap against Mali but has ambitions of creating a legacy by amassing over 100 caps for her beloved Nigeria.
She revealed that she learns a lot everyday whenever they are in camp from fellow team-mates, Ebi Enome and Ordega Francisca who she explained were a huge inspiration for her to push harder and stronger to go onto the other side of 100 caps to join legends the like retired goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama and Joseph Yobo respectively.
Nigeria will be hoping to make it to the finals of the tournament and step up on their quest to dominate the African continent.