2022 WAFCON: Copper Queens Shock Wasteful Super Falcons For Bronze

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  • It’s Nigeria 0-1 Zambia
Super Falcons…smiles long gone?

Nigeria’s Super Falcons recorded their worst performance in WAFCON history after losing to Bruce Mwape’s tutored Zambian women in Casablanca, Morocco in the 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations third-place play-off on Friday night.

It was indeed the Zambians’ night as Evarine Katongo’s first-half effort separated both teams with the Super Falcons paying dearly for their wastefulness in front of goal inside the Stade Mohammed V in Casablanca.

Still upset by their defeat to hosts Morocco in the semi-final, coach Randy Waldrum’s side went all out against the Southern Africans to restore some pride. Fuelled by that ambition, they dominated the game from the blast of Vincentia Amedome’s whistle.

The match was only two minutes old when the first chance fell to the now dethroned African champions, but Ifeoma Onumonu missed from close range after she was set up by captain Ngozi Okobi.

Five minutes later, the Copper Queens went close to finding the net after Xiomala Mapepa sent a cross into Nigeria’s goal area, but Ashleigh Plumptre cleared the ball to safety.

Aside from dominating the opening quarter of this low-scoring encounter, the Super Falcons had numerous scoring chances, their greatest undoing was failing to convert. In the 22nd minute, Francesca Ordega dribbled past Martha Tembo before teeing up Okobi, whose long-range strike was saved by goalkeeper Hazel Nali.

On the other hand, goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie made a superb save to deny Mapepa from finding the net, and two minutes before the half-hour mark, the Nigerians paid for their unpardonable misses when ZISD Queens midfielder Katongo put Bruce Mwape’s team ahead with a superb effort.

After running through the right side of Nigeria’s backline, Tembo skipped past Michelle Alozie before sending the ball inside the goal area. Christy Ucheibe’s inability to clear the ball ensured that Katongo drilled a shot from a long-range shot – with the ball ricocheting the crossbar and bouncing on keeper Nnadozie into the net.

Coach Waldrum

Though the goal was a reality check for the Coach Waldrum-led side, nonetheless, they were unable to restore parity as they continued with their lacklustre runs and wastefulness in front of the Zambian goal.

Two minutes after the resumption of play, Gift Monday was presented with a golden opportunity to level matters for the Super falcons after a one-two exchange with Okobi, but she misfired her close-range shot.

Again, Monday was the culprit as she wasted another sitter to the dismay of the Nigerian supporters. Even with the substitutions made by Coach Waldrum, the nine-time WAFCON winners could not find a way to unlock the Zambians’ defence as they failed in their quest to finish third.

This is the first time in the tournament’s history that the Super Falcons have finished outside the top three, while the Copper Queens won their first medal since their maiden appearance in 1995. – With Goal.com reports

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