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Epic Battle Anticipated Even Exactly One Month To Nigeria, South Africa Struggle For Paris 2024 Ticket –

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Paris 2024: CAF accedes to NFF’s request for late kick-off for Falcons, Banyana match

It is one month today to an epic African women’s football showdown as Nigeria host South Africa  in the quest to securing a ticket to the Paris 2024 Olympics.

It will be a battle of reigning African champions South Africa and nine-time former champions, Super Falcons of Nigeria.

After being held to a 0-0 draw in Cameroon, Nigeria snatched a 1-0 victory on Tuesday evening thanks to an Esther Okorokwo strike at the National Stadium in Abuja to see the Super Falcons through to the next round.

Banyana Banyana on the other hands did half the job in Tanzania when they won 3-0 in the first leg ahead of the return leg on Tuesday.

With a comfortable three-goal advantage, Thembi Kgatlana put the icing on the cake with a solo strike that saw the South Africans emerge victorious on Tuesday evening.

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Only five African countries have taken part in the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament since its inception in Atlanta in 1996, namely: Nigeria (1996, 2000, 2004, 2008), Cameroon (2012), South Africa (2012, 2016), Zimbabwe (2016) and Zambia (2020).

 

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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Olympics

Paris 2024 torch lit in ancient Olympia, relay under way

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Paris 2024 Olympics - Olympic Flame Lighting Ceremony - Ancient Olympia, Greece - April 16, 2024 Greek actress Mary Mina, playing the role of High Priestess, lights the flame during the Olympic Flame lighting ceremony for the Paris 2024 Olympics. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

The torch for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games was lit in ancient Olympia in a traditional ceremony on Tuesday, marking the final stretch of the seven-year preparations for the Games’ start on July 26.

Greek actress Mary Mina, playing the role of high priestess, lit the torch using a backup flame instead of a parabolic mirror that is normally used, due to cloudy skies, for the start of a relay in Greece and France.

It will culminate with the lighting of the Olympic flame in the French capital at the opening ceremony. Paris will host the summer Olympics for a third time after 1900 and 1924.

“In these difficult times we are living through, with wars and conflicts on the rise, people are fed up with all the hate, the aggression and negative news they are facing day in and day out,” International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach said in his speech.

“We are longing for something which brings us together, something that is unifying, something that gives us hope. The Olympic flame that we are lighting today is the symbol of this hope.”

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The IOC has cleared the way for Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete at the Olympics despite the ongoing war in Ukraine but they will do so as neutral athletes with no national flag or anthem, a decision that angered Moscow.

French President Emmanuel Macron also said last week Russia would be asked to observe a ceasefire in Ukraine during the Paris Olympics. The Kremlin said Ukraine might use it as an opportunity to regroup and rearm.

Suspending armed conflicts under an Olympic truce during the Games was a standard practice in ancient Greece.

TORCH RELAY

The high priestess then lit the torch of the first runner of the relay, Greece’s Olympic rowing champion Stefanos Ntouskos.

After a short run he then handed the flame on to France’s three-time Olympic medallist in swimming and head of Paris’ Olympic torch relay, Laure Manaudou, as the representative of the host city.

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The flame will be officially handed over to Paris Games organisers in Athens’s Panathenaic stadium, site of the first modern Games in 1896, on April 26 after an 11-day relay across Greece.

It will then depart the next day for France on board a three-masted ship, the ‘Belem’ where it will arrive on May 8 in Marseille, with up to 150,000 people expected to attend the ceremony in the southern city’s Old Port.

The last torch bearer in Marseille will climb on the roof of the Velodrome stadium on May 9, organisers said.

Marseille, founded by the Greek settlers of Phocaea around 600 BC, will host the sailing competitions.

The French torch relay will last 68 days and will end in Paris with the lighting of the Olympic flame on July 26.

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-Reuters

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It’s 100 days to Super Falcons’ first Olympic Games match in 16 years

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BEIJING - AUGUST 12: Last time at the Olympics for Super Falcons as  Marta (R) of Brazil takes the ball past Stella Mbachu (L) and Christie George (C)  during the Women's First Round Group F match between Nigeria and Brazil at the Workers' Stadium on Day 4 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games on August 12, 2008 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

BY KUNLE SOLAJA.

In 100 days time, the Super Falcons will file out against Brazil in their first Olympic Games’ match since they last played 16 years ago on 12 August 2008.

Sports Village Square recalls that coincidentally, the Super Falcons are starting from where they ended as it was against Brazil that they last played at the Beijing Workers Stadium – the same arena that the Nigerian U-16 men’s team set a record as the inaugural winners of the youth championship in 1985 and the first team outside Europe and South America to win a FIFA tournament.

When the Super Falcons played Brazil in 2008, the South Americans won 3-1 even though the Nigerian side scored first through penalty kick converted by Perpetua Nkwocha in the 19th minute.

It was thereafter that Brazil’s Cristiane Rozeira de Souza Silva  opened the fireworks that culminated in her scoring a hattrick.

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At Paris 2024, both Nigeria and Brazil are in Group C along with Spain and Japan. The top two from each of the three group, along with the best two third-placed teams, will reach the knockout phase.

Thereafter, quarter-finals, semi-finals, a third-place play-off and a final will take place.

Super Falcons’ Group match schedule

25 July: Bordeaux Stadium.  Brazil vs Nigeria

28 July: La Beaujoire Stadium. Spain vs Nigeria

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31 July: La Beaujoire Stadium. Japan vs Nigeria

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Super Falcons’ Paris 2024 fixtures recall Nigeria’s first matches at Olympic Games football event 56 years ago

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Super Falcons down two places but retain continental lead

BY KUNLE SOLAJA.

Nigeria’s women’s team, Super Falcons are drawn in Group C of the Paris 2024 Women’s football event. They are to play against Brazil, Spain and Japan – the same opponents that the then Nigerian national team, the Green Eagles drew in 1968 when the Olympic Games were held in Mexico City.

 The football event in Mexico 56 years ago was Nigeria’s first competitive venture outside Africa.

 As it was then, the Super Falcons are facing the same countries drawn against Nigeria Group B at Mexico ‘68. The only difference is the order of the fixtures. At Paris 2024, the order is reversed.

 While Nigeria faced Japan first and lost 3-1 at Mexico ‘68, this time, the Super Falcons will face Brazil first. At Mexico ‘68, the fixture with Brazil was the last.

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  At Paris 2024, the second match remains that with Spain as it was 56 years ago. That time, Spain beat Nigeria 3-0. In their last group match, Nigeria surrendered an initial 3-0 lead to draw 3-3 with Brazil.

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