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Falconets near France 2018, beat South Africa at home

*Return leg holds in Benin in two weeks

Nigeria’s under-20 women football team, the Falconets are one foot away from the 2018 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup in France, after whipping their hosts Basetsana of South Africa 2-0 on Saturday.

The win was in a match played at the Peter Makomba Stadium in Polokwane, which was the final round first leg fixture of the France 2018 Africa zone qualifiers.

The Falconets found a rather relaxed game in spite of the water breaks called out by the hosts in the 24th and 67th minutes.

Within the space of five minutes in the first half was enough to snatch the needed win when Rasheedat Ajibade opened scoring 30 minutes into the game and Anam Imo extended the lead five minutes later, after leaving Basetsana’s goalkeeper Mapaseka Mpuru helpless.

However, the home side almost got a quick response through top scorer Linda Motlhalo three minutes later but her strike from the free kick spot went wide.

In another goal attempt, Imo breezed past Basetsana goalkeeper but her finish came off the crossbar in the 52nd minute.

Basetsana’s best chance came nine minutes to the end of regulation time through substitute Khanya Nxesi, but visiting goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnodozie denied her.

The return leg will hold in the ancient city of Benin-City, which has become home to the cadet national team since the election of Governor Godwin Obaseki in a fortnight.

Meanwhile, Nigeria’s Consul General to South Africa, Godwin Adama, has commended the National U-20 female national team, Falconets for beating their South Africa counterparts.

Mr. Adama who watched the match said that the Falconets played well and deserved the victory.

“The Falconets showed character and zeal to carry the day. They played well and deserved the victory. They have made us proud and we are grateful. I am impressed with the turn-out of Nigerians to the stadium. Their presence also made the difference and motivated the team,” he said.

“The victory has also helped to improve our rating here that we can do well in sports,” the envoy said.

Collins Mgbo, Secretary, Nigerian Union, Limpopo Province chapter, said that the Nigerian Community in the area was fully mobilised for the match.

“Nigerians resident in various cities in the province came out to support our girls. Even South Africans married to Nigerians wore the green-white-green to cheer the Falconets. We will celebrate this victory because it means a lot for us,” he said.

Mr. Mgbo urged the team to finish the job in Nigeria and book the World Cup ticket.

The winner over two legs will represent Africa at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in France slated from 7th to 26th August.

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