The maiden edition of the Aisha Buhari Cup came to an end on Tuesday, with the Banyana Banyana of South Africa clinching the tilte.
There had been expectations that the home team, the Super Falcons, would win the six-nation tourney hosted at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena, Onikan Stadium in Lagos.
But the Nigerian ladies could not withstand the strength of South Africa, who put up a fine performance to secure a 4-2 victory over Randy Waldrum’s girls.
Speaking after the defeat, Nigeria’s Minister of Youth and Sports development, Sunday Dare said the Falcons did not have to dwell too long on their disappointing loss.
“I know you are all disappointed with this result. We all wanted a better result and performance but things like this happen in football,” said Dare.
“You have to raise your heads. Watch the game again and identify where you faltered, correct the mistakes then bounce back stronger. Learn from the loss.”
Reacting after the tourney was also the Technical Director of Nigeria Football Federation, Austine Eguavoen.
The former international called on the manager of Nigerian team, Waldrum, to look inward and replace ageing players.
Speaking to Supersport at halftime when Falcons were trailing 3-0, Eguavoen said it was obvious that Waldrum had an ageing team that required some shake-up.
“Nobody ever thought we would be three goals down at halftime against South Africa here in Lagos, but that is football for you. The South Africans are younger and sharper. Though the first two goals were unfortunate, but I think the visitors were the better side in this half,” Eguavoen said according to a CSN report.
“I think it is time we look inward for younger players to replace our ageing Super Falcons – players who could match the tempo of any African team.”
But first Vice President of the Nigeria Football Federation and chairman LOC, Aisha Buhari Cup, Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi, has described the defeat as a blessing in disguise.
“That’s football and it’s a good thing that this happened now rather than in the qualifiers. So the coach then needs to go back and have a look at the team again,” Akinwunmi told Supersport.
“But really, all in all the team did well. The South African side was a very good side we will work harder and come out tops next time but don’t forget we are playing for good, we want to win but we are playing for good and I think we have.”
The next competitive game for the Super Falcons will be against their tough rivals and neighbours, the Black Queens of Ghana, in the race for a spot at the 2022 Africa Women’s Cup of Nations (AWCON).
The 2022 AWCON is also a qualifier for the Women’s World Cup taking place in Australia and New Zealand in 2023.