South Africa’s Banyana Banyana produced the shock of the tournament so far, with an epic 1-0 win over the 8-time champions Nigeria in the opening game of Group B at the Cape Coast Stadium.
Desiree Ellis’s girls didn’t begin well however as Nigeria dominated early minutes of the game and went close in the 5th minute through an Ngozi Ebere free-kick which sailed just wide off the target.
Banyana Banyana slowly grew into the game, and finally had their first real opportunity on goal, but Jane Refiloe’s shot was calmly saved by the ever-reliable Oluehi Tochukwu in the Nigerian goal post.
Reigning African Player of the year Asisat Oshoala was proving to be a handful for the South African defense with her pace and strength on and off the ball.
In what was perhaps the chance of the match, the former Arsenal Ladies Player Asisat, beat the offside trap and played a square ball to her strike partner Ugochi Oparanozie who missed an open goal from 6 yards out.
Asisat went close again for Nigeria on the 40th minute, heading wide after good work from Faith Ikidi on the right flank.
The second half started with South Africa dominating early possession and could have had a penalty when Jane Refiloe was brought down in the box but the referee waved away the claims.
South Africa continued to mount pressure and went close on a couple of occasions through Linda Motlhalo and Leandra Smeda, before Jane Refiloe’s close-range effort was calmly saved by Tochukwu on 71 minutes.
The South African pressure finally paid off after 82 minutes, when super sub Chrestinah Kgatlana finished expertly into the far post, past a full stretched Tochukwu to give Banyana the lead.
That super strike proved to be the only goal of the game as South Africa held on firmly to claim a priceless win.
South Africa are currently top of Group B with 3 points with the Super Falcons bottom.