Nigeria and Arsenal Ladies striker Asisat Oshoala celebrating after scoring a goal against Mali at the 2016 African Women Cup of Nations (AWCON) in Limbe, Cameroon. PHOTO: CAF
After beating Egypt 5-0 on Friday, to secure a semifinal ticket at the ongoing African Women’s Nations Cup in Cameroun, players and officials of the Banyana Banyana of South Africa celebrated so loud into the Parliamentarian Hotel as if they had won the title. They share the same camp with the Super Falcons of Nigeria here in Buea.
Both South Africa and Egypt relocated from the nation’s capital city, Yaounde after their second group matches. While the Banyana Banyana were camped with the Falcons at the Parliamentarian Flat Hotel located on the foot of Cameroun Mountain in Buea, the Egyptians and Kenyans shared same hotel in Limbe, the seaside town, where the Omisport Stadium is located.
The 5-0 demolition of the Egyptians placed South Africa behind the host nation, Cameroun, in Group A.
Two years ago in Windhoek, Namibia, the Super Falcons defeated the South Africans 2-0 in the semifinal with Arsenal Ladies striker, Asisat Oshoala, accounting for both goals. The Falcons went on to win the title, beating Cameroun in the final. Before then, Nigeria had been a major blockage to the Banyana Banyana in the past. In 2004, when South Africa hosted the Women’s Nations Cup for the second time, the Falcons defeated them on home soil to win the title. A year earlier, it was the Falcons who stopped the South Africans in the final of Abuja 2003 All African Games, before edging them out in the qualifiers for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games where Vera Okolo, provided the lone goal.
This time around, the South Africans believe they are better equipped to stand between the Falcons and victory, if the two meet again.
Speaking with The Guardian at the Parliamentarian Hotel on arrival from their game against Egypt on Friday night, an official of the South African team vowed that her country would never to fall to the Falcons in this tournament.
“If your team (referring to the Super Falcons) top Group B, then it is the end of the road for Nigeria in this competition because we won’t allow them to beat us here. You saw how we dismantled Egypt 5-0, that is exactly how we will beat your team in the semi. Just pray that your team finish second in your group so that you people travel to Yaounde to face Cameroun. Even if Ghana top your group and come here for the semifinal, we will teach them good lessons too,” the female official boasted.