Nigeria’s Super Falcons were in devastating form as they thrashed Cape Verde 5-0 in the first leg of their 2024 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON) final-round qualifying fixture in Abuja on Thursday.
Uchenna Kanu netted a brace in the first half, while substitute Esther Okoronkwo added a double of her own in the second half to give the nine-time African champions a commanding lead.
The hosts started brightly and could have taken an early lead when Gift Monday’s free-kick rattled the bar. However, Kanu opened the scoring in the 7th minute, tapping home from a goalmouth scramble following a corner.
Kanu doubled her tally just two minutes later, firing past goalkeeper Jacinta Rodrigues after receiving a pass from Toni Payne. The Super Falcons continued to dominate and Gift Monday made it 3-0 in the 25th minute, bundling home from another goalmouth melee.
The visitors had a rare chance in the 14th minute when Kleydiana Borges’ shot was charged down by Oluwatosin Demehin, but the Super Falcons were always in control and Toni Payne missed from close range before the break.
Kanu completed her hat-trick just before the break, slotting home after a swift counter-attack launched by captain Rasheedat Ajibade.
The Super Falcons continued to dominate in the second half and Okoronkwo added her first goal in the 67th minute, lifting the ball over Rodrigues from a cross by Ajibade.
Okoronkwo then scored her second goal with 13 minutes left, firing past the visiting goalkeeper from a Rofiat Imuran cross.
The victory was a comprehensive one for the Super Falcons, who were far too strong for Cape Verde. The second leg will be played in Praia, the capital of Cape Verde, on Tuesday, 5th December.