Queens settle for bronze … As Nigeria wins 8th African women’s title

QueensGHANA secured bronze after beating South Africa in the third place match last Friday at the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium in Yaounde.
Defender Linda Eshun netted the only goal just after recess to ensure the Black Queens went home with some pride, after yet again failing to break the jinx as far as the ultimate at the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations is concerned.
It was the third time that the West Africans had finished third after 2000 and 2004, whilst the Banyana Banyana replicated their performance two years ago in Namibia.
South Africa will yet again live to regret the countless goal scoring chances that came their way in an encounter that they were by far the better side in the opening half. They could have at least ended the first half with a lead but failed to make their dominance and control of the game count on the scoring cards.
Midfielder Refiloe Jane headed wide on 22 minutes from close range before Ghana goalie Patricia Mantey denied the former again on the half-hour mark after Andisiwe Mgcoyi had put her through.
Midway, the South Africans were dealt a huge blow when central defender Bambanani Mbane was stretched off and her place taken by Noko Matlou.
With the Ghanaians struggling in search of their feet, goalie Mantey was at her best yet again parrying a Janine Van Wyk free-kick just before the break.
Three minutes into the second half, Eshun scrambled home from a corner to give the Ghanaians a lead that they will hold on for the remainder of the game.
The South Africans had some good moments to draw level with Leandra Smeda, Mgcoyi and Mamello Makhabane all fluffing golden opportunities to equalize.
The introduction of skilful forward Thembi Kgatlana in the dying moments almost salvaged a point for the South Africans but it was little too late as Ghana clang on to victory.
Meanwhile, striker Desire Oparanozie scored the winner five minutes from time as Nigeria beat hosts Cameroon 1-0 in the final on Saturday at a packed Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium in Yaounde.
Oparanozie, who netted the winner in the semi-final victory over South Africa four days earlier in Limbe, again lived up to expectations to silence the deafening home crowd that filled every inch of space at the 40,000 capacity stadium who were rooting for the side.
It was the third time after 2004 and 2014 that Nigeria had beaten Cameroon in the final and it further cements the Super Falcons’ status as the most dominant side in women’s football after previous triumphs in 1998, 2000, 2002, 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014.

– cafonline

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