Aisha Buhari Cup: Sanwo-Olu, FIFA President Cheer Falcons To Victory
Lagos State, Nigeria’s commercial nerve centre, became the cynosure of the global soccer lenses on Wednesday, as Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu was joined by the President of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), Gianni Infantino, to attend the opening round of the maiden Aisha Buhari Women Cup.
Nigeria’s Super Falcons played against Mali’s Les Aiglonnes in the international tournament hosted by the Lagos State Government at Mobolaji Johnson Arena in Onikan.
President of Confederation of African Football (CAF), Mr. Patrice Motsepe, Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare, Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) President, Amaju Pinnick, and top FIFA officials joined in Infantino’s entourage to the stadium.
Also, Lagos First Lady, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu and members of the Lagos State’s Executive Council stormed the stadium for the tournament.
The International friendly tournament, sponsored by MTN Nigeria and supported by Lagos State Government, was initiated to promote female football in Africa, gender equality and draw attention to development issues affecting women.
Substitute Gift Monday handed Nigeria a sweet 2-0 victory on the opening day of the tournament
Monday, interestingly a player of FC Robo Queens of Lagos, spun in the air to meet a cross by Captain Asisat Oshoala in the 83rd minute and nod past goalkeeper Fatoumata Karenta, six minutes after coming into the fray for Francisca Ordega.
The goal put the Super Falcons in the lead after a rather turgid day on Lagos island, with the Malians showing greater zest and desire in the opening half and returning after the recess with the same impressive fighting spirit.
The visiting Female Eagles had survived a raid on their area in the 5th minute as Nigeria looked to go into the lead with a corner, but the defence cleared. Nine minutes later, Ordega side netted from another quick dash up front, and in the 18th minute, Ageusissa Diarra tested goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie from a 30-yard free-kick.
In the second half, Uchenna Kanu side netted in the 67th minute, before Oshoala, who should have scored with only the goalkeeper to beat, failed to get past Karenta. In the 74th minute, Karenta again saved from Kanu.
In the 83rd minute, Monday rose highest in the box and nodded past Karenta, bringing so much excitement to the Arena.
One minute into added time, Monday was again at the end of an Asisat assist and looped the ball over an advancing Karenta to put huge smiles on the face of Nigerians.
Six nations are participating in the contest, which will draw to a close on September 21.
Other participants include South Africa, Morocco, Ghana, and Cameroon. The tournament continues Thursday with Cameroon’s Les Lionnes Indomptables slugging it out against Moroccan Atlas Lionesses.