Nigeria are celebrating their first West African Football Union (Wafu) Zone B Women’s Cup title after beating hosts Ivory Coast 5-4 on penalties in the final in Abidjan.
The match had finished 1-1 after 90 minutes with Ivory Coast taking the lead in the 41st minute through a free-kick by N’Guessan Koko Ange, voted the best player of the tournament.
The Super Falcons left it very late to equalise and had striker Uchenna Grace Kanu to thank as she scored four minutes into stoppage time to send the match to penalties.
Ivory Coast’s Kouassi Rosemonde missed the only penalty in the shoot-out and saw her country finish as runners-up for the second year in a row.
Kanu finished as the tournament’s top scorer with 10 goals in five matches.
The Super Falcons, who were unbeaten throughout the tournament, netted 23 goals in total, the highest in the competition and conceded only two.
They started off with a 5-1 win over Burkina Faso, followed by a record 15-0 thrashing of Niger and finished the group stages with a 2-0 victory over Mali.
They went on to defeat Ghana 5-4 on penalties in the semis after a goalless draw in regular time before conceding their second goal in the tournament to Ivory Coast in the final.
Ghana’s Black Queens, who won the maiden tournament on home soil last year, came third with an 8-7 win over Mali on penalties after the game had ended goalless after 90 minutes.
This latest triumph for the Super Falcons is a big boost for some of the players who have been included in a 27-strong provisional squad for next month’s Women’s World Cup in France.
Nigeria qualified for the tournament in France after they won the women’s Africa Cup of Nations in Ghana in December last year.
South Africa and Cameroon are Africa’s two other representatives at the Women’s World Cup.