Nigeria’s Super Falcons late on Thursday night started their campaign at the Summer Series invitational tournament on a losing note as they narrowly lost 1-0 to the Jamaica national women’s team.
Deneisha Blackwood scored the only goal of the game played at the BBVA Stadium as the ‘Reggae Girlz’ handed the Super Falcons their first defeat since 2019.
The Houston Dash forward’s solitary goal came in the 53rd minute in a match that marked a return to competitive action for the Reggae Girlz in over a year.
Due to injuries and logistic crisis, Nigeria’s coach Randy Waldrum was forced to make a lot of changes to his original 25-woman squad.
The American had to field a largely inexperienced starting line-up with four players; Oluwatosin Dimehin, Onyinyechi Zogg, Roosa Ariyo, and Vivian Ikechukwu making their international debuts.
Veteran forward, Francesca Ordega, who recently joined the Spanish women’s club Levante, was handed the captain’s armband and they started quite well and could have taken the lead as early as the third minute.
Debutant Vivian Ikechukwu came close to snagging an early goal but she was thwarted by the Jamaica goalkeeper Rebecca Spencer.
Jamaica then had chances to take the lead in the first half and should have made it 1-0 in the 24th minute from the penalty spot when Nigerian defender Glory Ogbonna was adjudged to have fouled Jody Brown in the box.
However, Blackwood’s spot-kick was comfortably saved by Nigerian goalkeeper Tochukwu Oluehi. Jamaica had another chance to score minutes later as Brown played the ball through to Konya Plummer, but her shot was saved by Oluehi again.
The Super Falcons created a flurry of chances before the break with Ordega coming close but her deflected shot from a corner was saved on the line. The captain vehemently claimed the ball crossed the line but the referee ruled no goal.
Nigeria thought they had taken the lead early in the second half when Amarachi Okoronkwo fired home from a close range after being put through on goal by Vivian Ikechukwu, but the goal was chalked off as Okoronkwo was deemed offside.
Jamaica were under pressure for the latter stages of the second half and Michelle Alozie had a great chance to equalise for the Nigerians with less than 10 minutes remaining, but her long-range effort hit the post.
The Super Falcons will hope to bounce back as they go up against Portugal in their second match of the Summer Series on Sunday. Also on Sunday, Jamaica will face the United States of America-the reigning world champions.