WAFCON22: ‘We thought we could compensate Nigerians with third place’

By Oviri Kelvin, Sports Editor

Super Falcons defender, Glory Ogbonna, has said the Nigeria senior women’s football team wanted to compensate Nigerians with a win against the Copper Queens of Zambia by clinching third place in the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON) in Morocco.

The defender, who plays in the Swedish club Umeå IK, lamented over the Super Falcons’ inability to secure third place despite targeting to win the trophy and qualifying for next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup in New Zealand and Australia.

Nigeria, during the course of their campaign in the 12th edition of WAFCON, lost to fierce continental rival, Banyana Banyana of South Africa in their opening group C game but proceeded to win the remaining two group games against Botswana and Burundi.

The 6-point victories recorded in the group stage saw the 9 times champion in the African continent, schedule a quarter-final tie where they humbled the Lionesses of Cameroon at Stade Mohammed V through a 56-minute finish by Rasheedat Ajibade.

However, coach Randy Waldrum’s side, having reached the semi-final and automatically qualified to represent Nigeria in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, lost on penalties to the host team, Morocco, after conceding two red cards resulting in a depleted 9-woman team.

Consequent to the loss, the Super Falcons who were earlier charged to extend their dominance in the continent by winning their 10th WAFCON title in Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium on Saturday, July 23, played the Copper Queens for third place where they lost 1-0 by an own-goal conceded by goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie.

The scenario and how Nigeria lost out on the competition has been described by Ogbonna as the team was unlucky.

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“It was our plan to secure the World Cup ticket and also win the trophy for a record 10th time,” Ogbonna recalled.

Furthermore, the defender who represented Nigeria in FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup in 2016 and 2018 expressed that the national team tried its best in the tournament but was unhappy with how it turned out.

Ogbonna said, “Like they always say, it is a game of football and anything can happen. We tried our best but we are very disappointed with the overall outcome of our participation in WAFCON, in Morocco.

“We thought we could win the third place match to compensate for not winning the coveted trophy but it didn’t turn out like that,” the Umeå IK defender lamented.

The Super Falcons’ defender was part of the national senior women’s team in 2018 where Nigeria won the 9th WAFCON title in Ghana.

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