President Muhammadu Buhari has sent a message of congratulations to the country’s female national team, Super Falcons, following their 2-0 victory against South Korea at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France.
The Nigerian number one citizen disclosed that he was delighted to see the Falcons soar to victory on a day the country marked the first official June 12 Democracy Day, and described the win as a very symbolic gift to mark the occasion for him and every other person across the nation.
Buhari was all smiles, as Barcelona Femeni of Spain attacker, Asisat Oshoala struck a marvelous second half goal to help the Falcons back into contention for a round of 16 ticket with Wednesday’s victory.
While the Falcons had gone ahead late in the first half courtesy an own goal by Korea’s Kim Doyeon’s own goal at Stade des Alpes, Grenoble, Oshoala, who was later voted woman of the match by FIFA, kept her cool close to the dn of full time to make it two.
Having lost 0-3 to Norway in their first match and realizing they could be heading back home early after the group phase, the Falcons opted for a determined approach against the Koreans.
However, team captain Desire Oparanozie wasted a great opportunity in the 8th minute when presented with a simple header from a pull-out from Ngozi Ebere. She nodded straight at the Korean goalkeeper.
Perhaps the most inspired decision by Nigeria’s head coach, Thomas Dennerby was starting former junior international, Chiamaka Nnadozie in goal and benched Tochukwu Oluehi, so jittery against Norway.
The 18-year-old Nnadozie simply continued from where she left off at the 2018 FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup, also hosted by France, where she drew some rave reviews.
She cuddled and punched with good judgment, used her long limbs marvelously and stood between the Asians and any goal, with her confidence enabling the Falcons to push forward in search of goals.
After Korean defender, Kim Do Yong misdirected a forward thrust by Rita Chikwelu past her goalkeeper for Nigeria’s first goal in the 29th minute, the Falcons’ spirit soared and they bossed the game.
Nigeria could have made it two four minutes after the restart, but Oparanozie’s header from a floated free kick by left back Ngozi Ebere went narrowly over the woodwork.
At the back, Nigeria kept things tight, with Onome Ebi, Osinachi Ohale, Ebere and Chidinma Okeke throwing everything in, while Chikwelu, Ngozi Okobi and Chinaza Uchendu worked hard in the middle.
However, it was intelligent right back Okeke, another performer from the 2018 FIFA Women’s World Cup, who got her touches right to send Oshoala to nick the second goal for Nigeria with 15 minutes left.
As the Koreans attacked, Okobi read the ball well and intercepted, letting Okeke have it and to surge forward.
The 18 –year old steered the ball past an advancing Korean and met it at the other end, then sent a pass to Oshoala, who ran past a defender, beat the goalkeeper and slotted into the net from a tight angle.
The result means three precious points for the Falcons, and a chance of reaching the knockout rounds for the first time since 1999 if they avoid defeat against host nation France in Rennes on Monday.
After the encounter, Buhari took to Twitter to reveal his delight, and hinted that he actually watched the game unfold on a day that is very special to the country, hence the additional joy he had over the win.
Buhari tweeted: “I’m pleased I was able to watch the Super Falcons match against South Korea, after the Democracy Day Lunch.
“Congratulations to the Team and Coaching Crew. A well-deserved win on a very special day for Nigeria. We are all proud of your victory.”