WAFCON 2022

Nigeria vs Botswana Preview: Super Falcons target resurrection without Oshoala

The Super Falcons want to bounce back from the defeat to South Africa against a free-scoring Botswana side at WAFCON 2022

The Super Falcons of Nigeria face the Mares of Botswana at WAFCON 2022

Defending African champions, the Super Falcons of Nigeria will seek to get the defence of their title underway at the ongoing 2022 CAF Women's Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON) against Botswana on Thursday.

The Randy Waldrum-led Nigerian side started the 2022 tournament with defeat as they fell to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of bogey-team South Africa in the opening match of Group C on Monday evening.

The record nine-time champions will go head-to-head with competition debutants Botswana at the Moulay Hassan Stadium in Rabat with the aim of showing that Monday's defeat was a blip.

Competition's first-timers Botswana had a barnstorming start to their WAFCON debut as they picked up an exciting 4-2 victory over Burundi in the first match at the tournament on Monday night.

The Mares of Botswana showed attacking verve and effective finishing as they put four goals past the Swallows of Burundi to go top of Group C.

However, the Burundians capitalised on the leaky nature of their opponents' defence, scoring two goals in the process. This is a flaw that the Super Falcons of Nigeria will seek to exploit further in their Matchday 2 fixture.

By far Nigeria's most-potent attacking player, Asisat Oshoala has been confirmed to be out of the 2022 WAFCON due to an injury she picked up on Matchday 1 against South Africa.

The FC Barcelona forward was taken in the match against the Banyana Banyana in the 82nd minute, having reportedly played most of the game with a knock.

Now without the 2022 Pichichi Award winner, the Super Falcons would have to rely on Atletico Madrid star Rasheedat Ajibade and US-based forward Ifeoma Onumonu as they launch a take-back mission of their WAFCON crown.

Being Botswana's first time qualifying for the WAFCON tournament, both sides have never met in this competition.

However, going by their latest FIFA Rankings, Nigeria, placed 1st in Africa and 39th in the world, are expected to hold a significant advantage over Botswana which are 29th in Africa and 152nd in the world.

Captain of the Super Falcons Onome Ebi is stung by the opening day loss to South Africa and stated that the team's resolve is to ensure that they win all other remaining matches in the tournament.

Sports journalist Oluwatobi Adepoju reported that Ebi said: "We feel bad to have lost the opening match, and against South Africa for that matter, but we have been able to put that behind us. We resolved immediately after the match that we will give what it takes to win all remaining games.

“There is no need for too many words. All we want to do is get the win against Botswana to restore our confidence, and then we can take things from there.”

The Super Falcons of Nigeria take on the Mares of Botswana on Thursday, July 7, 2022, at 9:00 pm Nigerian time at the Moulay Hassan Stadium in Rabat, Morocco.

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