The CAF Women's Champions League balloon finally burst for Nigeria's contingents this week after the intrepid Bayelsa Queens fell 1:0 to Moroccan AS Afsar's sword.
Bayelsa Queens came to the party rather late in the day having started the match very slowly.
After conceding a careless goal, they then started asserting themselves with the Moroccans effectively shutting up shop to keep the Nigerians at bay.
Nothing really is uplifting about Nigerian football these days. It’s always the same old story: close but no cigar.
Nigeria lost to South Africa in their first match of the Women’s Afcon this summer and then went on to lose to Morocco in the semi finals, sounds familiar?
Football rewards short and long term investments, professional preparations, superior facilities and proper management. Our players – male and female – continue to be let down by a system currently founded on rotten edifice.
I only watched today’s match out of a sense of blind patriotism more than anything else and I wasn’t disappointed.
Well done to the gallant Bayelsa Queens players. Despite the odds stacked against them by decrepit football infrastructure, they pulled out all the stops to at least make it a fascinating encounter to watch.
That is the Nigeria spirit that keeps going in the face of insufferable difficulties.
In the first half, they were disjointed at the back and lacked conviction and ideas going forward. This was punished by the Moroccans for their first and only goal of the encounter.
As the match was slipping off their grasp, Bayelsa Queens and their coach then threw everything at the Moroccans including the kitchen sink.
But the Moroccans, like a promontory, held firm, withstood the onslaught, employed time-wasting shenanigans and saw out their lead.
I am only left scratching my head as to why the Bayelsa Queens had wait for desperate times before showing their true colours.
The only silver lining is that a Nigerian team got to the semi-finals this time around (as Rivers Angels crashed out of the group stages last year).
So, there is improvement. Also, I struggle to see how Bayelsa Queens will lose to Simba Queens in Sunday’s third place playoff.
Bronze will be very well deserved for this doughty Bayelsa Queens stars. They have done well thus far even though they came agonisingly short in today’s painful semifinal loss.
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