By Rachael Ugiagbe
Nigeria’s Super Falcons and their closet rivals Equatorial Guinea faced-off in an action-packed match at the Abuja National Stadium last Saturday.
The race for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games began with the third round, first leg qualifier played at the weekend of 17-19 July, 2015.
The African Champions were given a run for their money, but took the lead in the 27th minute through midfielder Halimatu Ayinde, on the run of play, twisted and turned, before blasting home from a far which left goal keeper Analucia Nascimto with no answer.
Equatorial Guinea, after throwing everything at their hosts, broke through and drew leveled in the second half on the 62nd minute after capitalizing on a defensive flaw by Falcons, allowing Nigerian-born Chinasa Okoro to score and snatch a vital away goal heading into the return leg in Malabo on August 2.
Elsewhere, South Africa’s Bayana Bayana swept to a slim 1-0 victory over the Harambee Starlets of Kenya qualifier played at the Dobsonville Stadium on Saturday, 18 July 2015.
Bayana Banyana was missing USA-based striker Jermaine Seoposenwe and goalkeeper, Roxanne Barker who plays in Iceland. But Coach Vera Pauw’s charges were able to get the much needed win.
After creating a lot of chances in the opening minutes of the game but failed to convert them. Lebohang Ramalepe scored the only goal of the match late in the second half.
Kenya’s Kenya goalkeeper, Poline Atieno Owino, who had been solid through out the contest was finally beaten on the 75th minute, mishandled Ramalepe’s long-range shot for the only goal.
South Africa holds the advantage going into the second leg which will be played in two weeks’ time (Sunday, 2 August 2015) at the Machakos Stadium in the capital Nairobi.
The Indomitable Lionesses of Cameroon were held to a 1-1 draw by Ghana’s Black Queens in the other match played on Saturday in Yaoundé.
Cameroon were caught off guard after Ghana took the lead in the 25th minute through Mercy Myles but found their way back into the game with Christine Manie getting the equalizer in the 54th minute.
The return leg will be played in two-week time, with Black Queens hosting the Indomitable Lionesses of Cameroon.
According to Abidjan.net, the match for the 3rd round of the 1st qualifying round of the Olympics 2016 women’s football should have opposed, on Sunday afternoon.
The Ivorian against Zimbabwean at the stadium Robert Champroux in Marcory, South of Abidjan has been canceled, the selection of Zimbabwe have withdrew.
The responsibility for this cancellation lies with the Zimbabwean selection that has pulled at the last minute giving way for the Elephants’ ladies to qualify for the next round of the competition for qualifying for Rio 2016.