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Falcons Aim To Sustain Unbeaten Record In S’Africa

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Nigeria's Super Falcons will aim to sustain their high reputation of never losing to arch rivals Banyana Banyana of South Africa in their home country when they face off Tuesday's night for the second leg of their Paris Olympics qualifying final play off.

Though, the gap has become much closer since 19th March 1995, when the Super Falcons humiliated the Banyana 7-1 in front of their own fans in Johannesburg in a 1995 FIFA Women's World Cup qualifying match, but the fact remains that the Banyana are still looking for a first win over the Falcons in any match played in South Africa.

In 24 previous encounters (with seven played in South Africa), Nigeria have won 15, with five ending in draws and South Africa winning on four occasions. One of the drawn games was the final match of the 11th Women Africa Cup of Nations, which Nigeria eventually won 4-3 after a penalty shootout in Accra.
South Africa's four wins have been in Bata, Equatorial Guinea (1-0, 2012 Women AFCON); Cape Coast, Ghana (1-0, 2018 Women AFCON); Lagos, Nigeria (4-2, Aisha Buhari Cup) and; Rabat, Morocco (2-1, 2022 Women AFCON).

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Of the seven previous encounters inside South Africa, Nigeria have won five, drawing two. The only times the Banyana have been able to hold the Falcons in South Africa were on 12th March 2004 (Athens Olympics qualifier which ended 2-2) and a friendly match on 3rd June 2012 that ended 1-1.

The Super Falcons' delegation for Tuesday's all-important match arrived in Pretoria on Monday morning, and have settled down well for cracker.

Nigeria's last two goals against the Banyana have been scored by captain Rasheedat Ajibade. She got the consolation goal in the 2-1 defeat by the arch rivals in Rabat on 4th July 2022, and also converted the penalty that accounted for the win over the visitors in Abuja on Friday evening.

Ajibade's strike from the penalty spot earned Nigeria a lone-goal victory over the visitors in the first leg in Abuja on Friday, and even as there is all to play for in the return in South Africa's administrative capital, the Atletico Madrid ace said the players will be propelled to victory knowing that the faith of over 200 million Nigerians in them is unwavering.

Both teams have been in fine form during the qualifiers as they remain undefeated in four matches, a record that will be broken if either team has to progress.

The South-Africans love quick breaks and counter-attacks. With good command of the ball in possession and the pace of attackers: Hilda Magaia and Thembi Kgatlana, the SA team is a menace to most teams they face.

Their quick transitions can be credited to beautiful and delicately threaded passes from Linda Mothalo, Seopensewe and Refloe. Their midfleld's ability to read the game and create chances, picking out difficult through passes make this style a perfect fit.


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