Equatorial Guinea Defeat Nigeria to Claim the AWC Title at the 2008 Edition

The Super Falcons of Nigeria lost the 2008 African Women Championship trophy to surprise host- Equatorial Guinea. It was a bitter pill that was too much for the Nigerian girls to swallow, considering the expectation back home.

The Super Falcons were led to the tournament by veteran coach- Jossy Lad ably assisted by Coach Uche Eucharia. To qualifier for the tournament, the girls from Nigeria inflicted one of the heaviest defeats in the history of female football on the hapless Namibia. The one-sided encounter ended 10-1 in favor of the 7 time African champions.

When the team arrived in Malabo, it was with the intention to retain the trophy for a record 8 times, and they started their campaign on the 16th of November 2008 with a shaky 1-1 draw against the Black Queens of Ghana. It was a scary moment for the reigning champions, as they had to dig in to conjure an equalizer which came off the booth of Ifeanyi Chiejine in the 90th minute of regular time.

The second game was against Tunisia, and against all expectations, the Super Falcons could not find the Tunisian net throughout the encounter. The match eventually ended in a barren draw to the dismal of fans back home.

The third and final group match was against arch rivals South Africa and there was tension in the air, as Nigeria needed a win to scale through to the Semi-Finals. Ifeanyi Chiejine once again proved to be Nigeria’s savior as she slammed home the winning goal in the 16th minute of the energy-sapping encounter.

The semi-final clash between Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea was played at the impressive Estadio Internacional, Malabo. It was an encounter that witnessed the unprecedented upset of the reigning Champions by the girls from Equatorial Guinea. The match was decided by a single goal scored in the 58 minutes of play by the tournament highest goal scorer- Genoveva AƱonma. She also emerged as the best player of the tournament.

The Super Falcons had to settle for a 3rd place finish after defeating Cameroon 4-3 on penalties in the third place match. Though the Nigerian official later accused the Equatorial Guineans of using men in place of women during the competition, the Confederation of African Football never investigated the allegation and the Super Falcons came back home with the painful memory of Malabo while the Equatorial Guineans went on to defeat South Africa 2-1 to emerge as the new Champions of African Football. A total of 8 teams took part in the 2 weeks event.