Nigeria Super Falcons witnessed one of their most difficult games in history when they played against the host of the TotalEnergies Women African Cup of Nations WAFCON 2022 at the Stade Prince Moulay Abdellah Rabat Stadium.
Football is a game played by two opposing teams in which one must emerge victorious at the end either during regulation time, extra time or after extra time (On penalties).
But some games may have the final whistle blown without any side being declared the winner, not because they settle on the same scoreline but because both teams are winners.
Nigeria lost 5-4 to Morocco via a penalty shootout after the regular time ended 1-1 but why was Nigeria not called losers?
Just as every side needs to win, they also need a complete set of players and like-minded individuals to produce a result before they can be declared winners.
However, Nigeria lost two players including a prospective player of the tournament Rasheedat Ajibade to controversial decisions by the referee. Nigeria felt cheated after a stamp on Ohale which resulted in the defender having a medical attention that was not reviewed by the video assistant referees (VAR).
The Super Falcons played a greater part of the game that is about an hour, with just nine players, yet the Moroccans who were playing in front of their home crowd could not produce anything to show for it.
Goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie continued her superb performance for her country, despite not starting the first game against South Africa.
The loss against Morocco was her first loss and her first time conceding a goal in this year’s tournament after keeping three clean sheets in her two group games and a knockout tie against Cameroon.
But the penalty shootout meant she is yet to lose a single game during regulation time in the ongoing TotalEnergies Women African Cup of Nations WAFCON 2022.
Millions of Nigerians went on social media to congratulate the team for their ‘special performance’ against all odds.
Playing nine against eleven, playing against the home side in a record attendance capacity filled with Moroccans, having many calls by the referee against them, yet somehow manage to survive till the end and only losing on penalties which many see as a coin that can turn to anyone’s favour, was the basis of their jubilation and celebration for the team.
The Super Falcons will face Zambia in the third place playoff to determine the bronze winners, though they have already booked a place in next year’s FIFA Womens’ World Cup.