Aisha Buhari Cup: Gift Monday brace lifts Super Falcons above Mali in opening game
By Anulika Menanya, Lagos
Nigeria’s senior women’s national football team, the Super Falcons kicked off the maiden Aisha Buhari Invitational with a win.
Substitute, Gift Monday, displayed a woman-of-the-match worthy performance when she gave the Falcons a 2-0 victory over the Female Eagles of Mali.
Monday made the most impact on a day that was not one of captain Asisat Oshoala’s best. Brought in the 77th minute in place of Francis Ordega, Monday broke the deadlock six minutes after she spun in the air to meet a cross by Oshoala and nodded past goalkeeper Fatoumata Karenta.
The goal put Nigeria in the lead, with the Malians showing greater zeal and desire in the opening half and returning from the break fighting.
Monday, an FC Robo Queens player, ensured a sweet 2-0 victory and a relief for the Falcons and spectators at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena, Onikan, Lagos, at regulation time when again with an assist from the Eagles captain looped the ball over an advancing Karenta.
This victory for the Falcons is their ninth in 10 meetings against the Female Eagles.
Captain Oshoala whose best effort in the encounter failed to get past Karenta hailed Coach Thomas Denerby for the game changing substitution.
“We have a lot of players in the team and as a soccer player some days we don’t play at our best at every point in time but great substitution from the Coach (Thomas Denerby), he made the changes and we went to the locker room and we came out in the second half in a different way”, said Oshoala.
Nigeria will take on South Africa on Tuesday 21st of September, 2021 and Oshoala has assured Nigerians that they will give their best.
“Like I said before this game, we are going to give our best and make sure we win every competitive game we play which we did today. Next game against South Africa we are going to make sure we put in our best and try to win the game too”.
‘Playing for good’
In Matchday 2, the Mobolaji Johson Arena will see action between Cameroon and Morocco in what promises to be an exciting encounter.
The other teams in the tournament are South Africa and Ghana who will play on Friday, 17th September, 2021
The Aisha Buhari Competition, tagged “Playing for Good” is being organised by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), with the support of Aisha Buhari Foundation, an NGO of Nigeria’s first lady.
The event is to help drum up support for women and girl-child empowerment for better opportunities.
Among dignitries present at the arena, are the Lagos state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, FIFA President Gianni Infantino and CAF President Patrice Motsepe as well as President of NFF and FIFA council member Amaju Pinnick.