Nine-time champions Super Falcons of Nigeria have set their sight on one of the five FIFA World Cup tickets for Africa ahead of their clash against Cameroon at the ongoing the 2022 Africa Women Cup of Nation.
The result of the clash between Nigeria and Cameroon in the famous city of Casablanca, Morocco will determine who is guaranteed a place at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia & New Zealand.
The PUNCH reports that the four teams that qualify for the semi-finals at the WAFCON 2022 would automatically qualify for the women’s foremost tournament, while the team adjudged to have finished fifth will get the chance to qualify at a Playoff Tournament next year.
Nigeria and Cameroon started their continental campaign on a slow note with the Super Falcons losing 2-1 in their opening match against South Africa, while the Lionesses battled to get a draw against Zambia.
Nigeria, however, despite the loss of their star player, Asisat Oshoala won their two other matches with six points and six goals advantage which shoot them into the quarterfinals.
The Lionesses were also impressive in the group stage and have been rewarded with what is the most anticipated quarter-final clash at the WAFCON 2022.
The neighbours, Cameroon, head into Thursday’s encounter hoping to clinch a third consecutive appearance at the FIFA World Cup against a familiar foe.
Nigeria and Cameroon represented Africa at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup finals in Canada and at the 2019 edition in France.
Nigeria edge their neighbours on the global stage being one of only six countries in the women’s game to have participated in all eight editions of the World Cup.
Super Falcons head coach Randy Waldrum, expressed the team’s readiness to face their opponent on Thursday stating, “We are ready to face Cameroon.”
With a spectacle brewing ahead of Thursday’s clash at the Stade Mohammed V in Casablanca, Nigeria’s captain Onome Ebi says the Super Falcons are up for the challenge.
“Of course, we know what to expect. The Cameroonians also want to go to the World Cup. But we have never missed the World Cup and we won’t start now. Our eyes are fully focused on Australia & New Zealand, and then we can start talking about the trophy,” she told NFF Media.
Cameroon suffered a 6-0 spanking from the Falcons in the semi-finals of the first edition of WAFCON in 1998, hosted by Nigeria.
Although there have been improvements for the Lionesses, the Super Falcons thrashed them 5-1 in the semi-finals of the 2010 edition in South Africa.
Both countries contested the final matches of the 2014 and 2016 Women AFCON. In 2014 in Windhoek, Namibia, the Falcons ran away 2-0 winners to lift the trophy for the seventh time. In 2016 in Yaounde, Cameroon suffered a heartbreak in front of their cheering fans when Desire Oparanozie scored a late goal to hand the trophy to Nigeria for the eighth time.
Four years ago, in Accra, both teams also met in the semi-final stage. It was a tough duel that ended 0-0 after regulation and extra time, but the Falcons again proved they were Super winning 4-2 after a penalty shoot-out on the way to their ninth title.