Olympics qualifiers: Ajibade scores penalty as Falcons beat South Africa

The Super Falcons of Nigeria defeated South Africa 1-0 in the first leg of the final round of qualifiers for the women’s football event at the 2024 Olympics. 

Rasheedat Ajibade’s 43rd-minute penalty was the sole difference between the teams at the Moshood Abiola Stadium, Abuja, on Friday.

Randy Waldrum, Falcons head coach, was without Ashleigh Plumptre and Oluwatosin Demehin, who pulled out of the clash due to injury. Asisat Oshoala was also left on the bench after a late arrival to camp.

Chidinma Okeke, Chiwendu Ihezuo and Jennifer Echegini started instead of the three absentees.


The Falcons had their legs on the pedal from the beginning of the match. Uchenna Kanu asked several questions from the Bayana Bayana defence, but Kaylin Swart, the South African goalkeeper, provided the answers with brilliant stops.

But the Nigerian pressure broke through the South Africans in the 43rd minute. Noko Matlou brought down Ihezuo in the Bayana Bayana goal area, and Nigeria was awarded a penalty.

Ajibade made no mistake from the spot and sent Swart the wrong way to give the Falcons the lead.


The team held on for a vital win ahead of the encounter’s return leg in Pretoria at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium on April 9.

The winner of the two-legged tie between Nigeria and South Africa will earn one of Africa’s two tickets to the women’s football event at the Paris Olympics, with Zambia and Morocco battling for the other ticket.

The 2024 Olympics is billed to take place in Paris, France, from July 26 to August 11, 2024.

The last time the Falcons played at the Olympic Games was in Beijing in 2008.

  1. The goal margin is too small for the supper falcons to bank upon. They should be prepared for an herculian task which awaits them in south Africa next week.

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