- Aisha Buhari Cup kicked off in style as the Super Falcons of Nigeria opened their account with victory over Mali
- The Nigerians had to wait until the 83rd minute before opening their goals’ account courtesy a Monday Gift header
- Gift completed her brace in stoppage-time - a match which was witnessed by dignitaries, including the Lagos Stats governor as well as the FIFA president
Monday Gift grabbed a brace very late in the game to seal all three points for the hosts in the presence of Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State who led eminent political big-wigs to the event.
Other top dignitaries who witnessed the opening match of the competition were FIFA President Gianni Infantino and CAF President Patrice Motsepe and other football’s top echelon, including president of NFF and FIFA council member Amaju Melvin Pinnick.
The Mobolaji Johnson Arena, Onikan, came to life in the 83rd minute when FC Robo Queens star Monday Gift rose to head past Mali’s goalkeeper Fatoumata Karenta, six minutes after coming into the fray for Francisca Ordega.
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It was a tough contest on Wednesday evening as the opponents put up a formidable fight showing greater zest and desire in the opening half and returning after the recess with the same impressive fighting spirit.
Nigeria came close as early as the 5th minute when the Malians cleared the danger, before Francisca Orderga side-netted her effort in the ninth minute.
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.
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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.
Meanwhile, the Spokesperson of the League Management Company, Harry Iwuala, has described the NFF recognition of 1999 Super Falcons squad as never too late to do something right despite the passing away of one of the players of the squad - Ifeanyi Chiejine.
Chiejine died on August 21, 2019, following a brief illness.
Two years after her death, the 1999 Super Falcons squad are set to be recognized at the NFF/AITEO award after reaching the quarterfinal of the 1999 women's World Cup.
Speaking to Legit.ng, Iwuala commended the NFF for doing what is right even though it comes 22 years after.
Reacting to the question if the recognition should have come earlier so as Chiejine could have been part of it, Iwuala said:
"It is good that every player in that Super Falcon squad will be honoured, it is either it's done posthumously or when one is alive. Sadly, we lost her (Chiejine) but just like every other player in the squad, she will also be recognized."
Sports ministry donates N50million for Aisha Buhari Cup
Meanwhile, Legit.ng earlier reported that the minister of youth and sports development, Sunday Dare, donated N50million to organisers of the Aisha Buhari Cup, an invitational women football tournament for six African countries.
The minister made the announcement on Tuesday, August 31 when the LOC paid a courtesy call to his office in Abuja.
He commended the organisers of the tournament for the wonderful work they had done so far while assuring them that all the necessary support they need would be provided to make the competition a huge success.