11 June 2021 By Shakirat Alabi
Deneisha Blackwood scored the only goal as Jamaica defeated Nigeria 1-0 in the opening international invitational tournament match at the BBVA Stadium on Thursday night.
Following an impressive maiden outing in February, Randy Waldrum’s winning streak in charge came to a disappointing end no thanks to the solitary of the Houston Dash forward.
With the injury and logistic crisis hitting the 25-woman squad, Waldrum fieled a starting XI with Ordega wearing the captain’s armband while handing four players starting international debuts – Oluwatosin Dimehin, Onyinyechi Zogg, Roosa Ariyo and Vivian Ikechukwu.
The debutants duely profited from the unfortunate absence of eight regular players Ngozi Okobi-Okeoghene, Chiamaka Nnadozie, Osinachi Ohale, Halimatu Ayinde, Onome Ebi, Asisat Oshoala, Uchenna Kanu due to visa hitches and injuriy crisis.
Regardless, the African champions started the encounter on the front foot with debutant Vivian Ikechukwu coming close to breaking the deadlock in the third minute as she forced goalkeeper Rebecca Spencer to an early save.
However, the Raggae Girl were gifted a penalty after Glory Ogbonna made a foul inside the box but goalkeeper Tochukwu Oluehi managed to deny Blackwood from netting the opening goal from the spot in the 26th minute of the contest.
Despite Nigeria’s constant push for an equaliser, the Jamaicans were rock solid to rebuff every attempts spearheaded by Toni Payne and Francisca Ordega in the first half.
Early in the second half, Hue Menzies’ side eventually found a breakthrough as Blackwood made up for her penalty miss when she scored the winner six minutes after the restart to end Nigeri’s seven-game unbeaten run since a 3-0 defeat to Germany in June 2019.
Despite the defeat, Esther Ogbonna, Nicole Payne and Ifeoma Onumonu tasted their first ever international debuts for the Super Falcons, while acting captain Ordega was stretched off.
The maiden appearance of Nicole alongside her sister Toni also saw the Payne sisters become the second family in history to represent Super Falcons after Eberechi and Ugochi Opara.
It was the first ever defeat for Waldrum after four game in charge, and also historic loss in the West African nation first ever meeting with the Carribean ladies in history.
Nigeria have an opportunity to make up for Thursday’s defeat when they tackle Portugal in their second match of the Summer Series at the same venue on Sunday, June 14.
On the other hand, the Reggae Girlz, who became the first Caribbean team to play in the Women’s World Cup when they made the field in France in 2019, will next meet the US.