By Dakarai Mashava in Nigeria
LAGOS – Nigeria confirmed their ticket to the Africa Women Championships after outplaying disappointing Zimbabwe in the second leg of the final qualifying round of Africa’s premier women football competition here yesterday.
The seven-time African champions, who beat Mighty Warriors 2-0 in the first leg, qualify on a 6-0 aggregate. The Super Falcons were quicker off the blocks and scored three goals in the opening 17 minutes past an erratic Mighty Warriors defence.
After a period of relentless pressure in which they exploited the right flank where wingback Viola Ndlovu had a nightmare, the Super Falcons surged into the lead just seven minutes into the match through Perpetua Nkwocha.
The hosts’ forward beat Zimbabwe goalie Onai Chingawo after a rapid-fire Nigerian counterattack. Eight minutes later it was the turn of another Super Eagles striker Desire Oparonozie who fired home after Chingawo had punched away Glory Iroka’s blistering shot.
Nigerian left winger Esther Sunday compounded Zimbabwe’s misery after 17 minutes when she drilled home from inside the box capitalising on the failure by the out-of-sorts Ndlovu who failed to clear away from danger a cross from Oparonozie.
Nigeria scored their fourth in the 57th minute through right winger Stella Mbachu who beat Chingawo at the near post after outpacing Majika. Zimbabwe’s strikers were very poor going forward. Their first chance came after 21 minutes when Kudakwashe Basoppo shot wide after being set up by the Marjory Nyaumwe.
On 31 minutes the wasteful Bassopo fluffed another chance to reduce the arrears when she shot tamely at goal following some good work by the impressive Rudo Neshamba. Towards the end Zimbabwe upped their game when suddenly Nyaumwe became more influential.
The visitors’ midfielder who was by far the best player during the first leg in Harare let fly a rasping shot after 77 minutes which was saved by the Falcons goalie. Moments later reigning Zimbabwe woman footballer of the year Felistas Muzongondi’s effort hit the bar as Zimbabwe searched in vain for a face saver.
Mighty Warriors coach Rosemary Mugadza attributed the defeat to poor performance by her midfielders and defenders. “Today we did not play our normal game. Our midfield and defence were poor in the first half. We attacked better in the second half but missed our chances,” she said. Daily News
To help maintain editorial independence Nehanda Radio relies on donations from readers like you. No donation is too small or too big. Help by donating to fund our operations.