Nigeria have booked their place at the 2023 Women’s World Cup by beating Cameroon 1-0 in the quarter-finals of the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations at Stade Mohammed V on Thursay.
The WAFCON record champions are the third African team to seal a place at next year’s tournament — following the qualifications of Morocco and Zambia on Wednesday.
Nigeria went into the encounter with a record of participating in every World Cup, and they were hoping to defeat Gabriel Zabo’s ladies in order keep their record.
Cameroon, on the other hand, were chasing a third World Cup ticket, having qualified for the 2015 and 2019 editions.
Nigeria dominated the Lionesses in the opening minutes, but their record of never failing to reach the semi-finals in any WAFCON they took part appeared to be in jeopardy after they failed to register a single shot on target in the opening 45 minutes.
Eleven minutes after the interval, however, those fears were dispelled when Rasheedat Ajibade powered home a header to put her side in front.
Ngozi Okobi bursted forward but halted her run after being surrounded by three yellow shirts. Napoli defender Marie Awona then tried to disposses her but all she could do in the end was to slip the ball away from the no.13. Ifeoma Onumonu got to the loose ball first, sending a first-time lofted pass to Ajibade, whose brilliant header hit the upright before going in.
Cameroon pressed for an equalizer in the closing stages, but Nigeria managed to hold on to the lead to secure victory.
Randy Waldrum’s side, who are chasing a 12th WAFCON title, will face hosts Morocco in the semi-finals on Monday.
The game will see joint-top scorers Ajibade and Ghizlane Chebbak play against each other.
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