Nigeria began their quest for a place in next year’s Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON) with a 5-0 thrashing of Cape Verde on Thursday at the Moshood Abiola Stadium in Abuja.
Uchenna Kanu and Esther Okoronkwo each scored a brace, and Monday Gift added a goal as the Super Falcons defeated the minnows.
As expected, the record WAFCON holders got the game began quickly and did not waste any time before Kanu opened the score sheet. Only seven minutes into the game, she tapped in from close range.
Although Cape Verde fought to tie the game, goalie Chiamaka Nnadozie saved them with a remarkable 16th-minute stop.
The Nigerian girls were the beneficiaries of a goalmouth scramble nine minutes later, with Gift bundling the ball home to double the Super Falcons’ lead. Rasheedat Ajibade’s 33rd-minute shot was inches wide.
But Kanu wasn’t finished yet. At the 45-minute mark, she converted a Toni Payne cross to make it three for the home side.
🏁FULL TIME! in Abuja 📍
Nigeria 🇳🇬 5-0 Cape Verde 🇨🇻
— NGSuper_Falcons (@NGSuper_Falcons) November 30, 2023
Nigeria continued to press the Cape Verdian ladies upon resumption of the second half. But it took a 66th-minute effort from substitute Esther Okoronkwo – who came in for Gift – for the Super Falcons to get their fourth goal on the night off Esther Akudo Ogbonna’s cross.
Esther bagged her brace for the evening eleven minutes later to give Nigeria a fifth goal.
With the job done, interim coach Madugu Justine brought in Tochukwu Oluehi for Nnadozie in goal while Chiamaka Okwuchukwu made her debut when she came on for Esther Akudo.
The second leg of the game will be played on Tuesday in the coastal city of Praia, the Cape Verdian capital. The winner of both fixtures will feature at the 2024 WAFCON in Morrocco.
Thursday’s game was Madugu’s third for the Super Falcons in the continued absence of Head Coach Randy Waldrum.