The continuation of Nigeria and South Africa’s rivalry will take centre stage at the 12th Women AFCON In Morocco.
Botswana and Burundi are the other teams in Group C of the Women AFCON taking place 2nd – 23rd July.
Like Ghana 2018, Like Morocco 2022?
Nigeria and South Africa faced off in the same group at the last edition of the competition in Ghana, with the Banyana winning by the odd goal.
Again, both teams met in the final, which ended scoreless after regulation and extra time.
The Super Falcons eventually triumphed 4-3 on penalties to win their 9th title.
The 2018 AFCON thus became the turning point of the rivalry as it finally dawned on Nigeria that South Africa is no longer playing catch up.
Led by speedy Thembiso Kgatlana, the Bayana Bayana has since been Nigeria’s Achilles heel every time they play.
The 4-2 win at the Aisha Buhari Cup in Nigeria further tilt the balance towards South Africa.
Nigerian coach, Randy Waldrum, understands he needs to get back the balance of the rivalry in Nigeria’s favour.
“We respect South Africa but we also know the situation the last time we played them,” said Waldrum to CAFonline.
“We will be ready and prepared to win just as we will be with all the teams in our group. Playing teams like the Olympic gold medalists Canada and playing well shows us the heights we are capable of achieving.”
South Africa is not the first Rival to challenge Nigeria’s dominance in Africa.
Nigeria/South Africa Rivalry: Equatorial Guinea And Other Challengers
The black queens of Ghana in the late 90s were the first to step up to Nigeria, but it was Equatorial Guinea that shook the Falcons to their foundation.
The Guineans and their army of foreign players who switched allegiance took two AFCONs off Nigeria during the era.
After the fall of Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon came close but was too far from the in-depth qualities of Nigeria.
In all of these, the aim of Nigeria and the falcons is world domination, a quest, Waldrum hopes to achieve even though others before him failed.
“We must remain focused and continue improving in some areas in order to become a world power which we are capable of achieving”.
While Nigeria is trying to reestablish leadership on the continent, another country is brewing in Morocco.
Ultimately The WAFCON will provide the ground for an exciting peep into the rise of African women’s football.