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International Soccer

BANYANA BANYANA: Nigeria’s Randy Waldrum hits back at Banyana for ‘talking a lot’ before Olympic qualifiers

The Super Falcons of Nigeria secured their place at the Paris Olympics in dramatic fashion by overcoming rivals Banyanya Banyana by 1-0 over two legs.

South Africa players dejected during the 2024 Olympics Qualifiers match between South Africa and Nigeria at Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria on 09 April 2024
Image: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

The Super Falcons of Nigeria secured their place at the Paris Olympics in dramatic fashion by overcoming rivals Banyanya Banyana by 1-0 over two legs.

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

In the first leg qualifier held at their home ground, the MKO Abiola Stadium, Nigeria emerged victorious with a penalty converted by Rasheedat Ajibade, who plays club football for Atletico Madrid in Spain.

That victory gave them an upper hand in their mission to qualify for the Olympics.

The return leg, which took place at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium on Tuesday night, saw coach Waldrum’s team frustrate Desiree Ellis’ Banyana in a goalless draw.

This result effectively denied Banyana the opportunity to qualify for the global tournament, while securing Nigeria’s place in the Olympics.

“I think the difference when we played in the last two times at the Aisha Buhari Cup, they beat us I was also the coach [when they beat us] at WAFCON.

“The teams were different if you look at the results of those squads and this squad,” said Waldrum, who emphasised that their participation in the World Cup strengthened them in preparation for the Olympic qualifiers.

“We had an opportunity to prepare 10 or 12 days before the World Cup and knowing the group we were in we put a high priority on our defensive structure, organization, and getting all the players on the same page.

“Once we were able to perform the way we did at the World Cup with our opponents the players bought into what I’m trying to get them to do defensively.

“I think we were much better organised than the previous two times we played them (South Africa),” the 67-year-old mentor explained.

“That’s why I felt confident going to these two games, and I know South Africa talked a lot before the two matches.

“On how they going to do this and that, and we just kept quiet I believed in my team, I knew we will be a hard team to break down even with their talent,” he concluded.

The Olympics will start from July 26 to August 11 in France, this year.

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