Africa Women Cup of Nations: Who will win the final?

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Nigeria, Super Falcons
Will Banyana Banyana or the Super Falcons emerge victorious in Saturday’s showpiece?


South Africa and Nigeria are the last two teams standing in the 2018 Africa Women Cup of Nations, but which of the continental heavyweights will take the title on Saturday?

In this feature, Goal writers Kunle Fayiga and Prince Narkortu Teye go head to head to debate who they’re tipping for the title.

Fayiga: Super Falcons all the way

It’s obviously Nigeria, is this even supposed to be a debate?

10 championships from the previous 12 editions is enough to tell you who are the outright favourites.

The Super Falcons might have lost their tournament opener to Banyana Banyana, but it was only their second competitive loss to their rivals.

What’s more is how they responded against Zambia and Equatorial Guinea – the only other side to win the competition — beating them 4-0 and 6-0 respectively.

It’s enough to tell you that they are not to be messed with.

Asisat Oshoala - Nigeria women

Nigeria have never lost in an AWCON final, so if there’s any side capable of pulling through, it’s the ladies in green, because they’ve done it time and time again.

They defeated Banyana in the 1995 and 2000 finals, and winning the tournament has certainly become the team’s trademark.

The current crop have dazzled in Ghana, with current African queen Asisat Oshoala, Francisca Ordega and Desire Oparanozie netting seven of Nigeria’s 10 strikes in the tournament.

Desiree Ellis’ ladies might prove to be a threat on the big day, they do have Thembi Kgatlana – the leading markswoman in the ongoing competition, after all.

However, when push comes to shove, no other women’s national team in Africa has the winning mentality like Nigeria does.

Thembi Kgatlana

Narkortu Teye: Banyana have it in the bag

According to team South Africa, they have already achieved their ambition at the ongoing Africa Women Cup of Nations, even before stepping into Saturday's final against nemesis Nigeria.

Now that on its own is a big reason why Banyana Banyana are more likely to win the decider.

Unlike record champions Nigeria, who must win at every cost to show they're still the queens of the continent, Ellis' outfit's historic qualification for next year's World Cup means the team will play with swagger.

Unlike their opponents, South Africa are not under pressure.

That Banyana came out on top when the two teams met in their tournament opener is just another reason why confidence will be higher at their side.

Desiree Ellis South Africa Banyana Banyana coach

To put it plainly, they’ve got nothing to lose.

Even if they have, their performance so far at the tournament leaves them as the better and sharper of the two sides going into the final.

Not only have they scored the most goals at the competition (11 against Nigeria's 10) but also boast of tournament top scorer Kgatlana (with five goals).

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Again, Nigeria showed exhaustion in playing 120 minutes of football in Tuesday's semi-final against Cameroon.

Those extra minutes can — and will — take a toll on Saturday.

Nigeria may be serial AWCON winners, but 2018 will be South Africa’s year.