The last set of group matches of Morocco 2022 Africa Women Cup of Nations come up this evening simultaneously in two Rabat stadia with the Super Falcons needing a point to to reach the last eight.
Having lost their first two group games, opponents Burundi have to win this time to avoid going home early.
Nigeria suffered defeat in their opening match to group leaders South Africa, who scored two goals in a space of two second half minutes but conceded in the added time through Rasheedat Ajibade’s strike.
The Super Falcons then recovered from that setback and triumphed over Botswana 2-0 on Thursday to be in the running for the knockout phase.
Nigeria have won the African title a record 11 times (Equatorial Guinea are the only other champions winning the title two times), but the last time they beat the Banyana Banyana was in the semifinal of 2016 edition on the way to claiming the title the 10th time. Since then, South Africa had won thrice and drawn the other two matches.
South Africa have already booked their spot in the quarterfinals of Morocco 2022 beating Burundi 3-1 after the triumph over Nigeria. They can afford to field their fringe players against Botswana who will be glad with a draw.
Three teams may qualify from this group as the two best third placed teams will emerge from here and Group B. Tunisia, the third placed side in Group B, are already through to the knockout stages, while Group’s A No 3 Burkina Faso are eliminated having managed only a point.
Morocco won Group A overwhelming all their opponents, while Senegal finished second and also progressed. Group B produced Zambia as winners and Cameroon in second place.
In the quarterfinals starting on Wednesday, Morocco waiting for the third placed team in Nigeria’s Group C to know their opponents, while Zambia take on Senegal on the same day. The other last eight matches on Thursday pair Cameroon against Group C runners-up, while Group C winners will challenge Tunisia.
Winners at this stage will not only advance to the semifinals but will also represent the continent at next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup to be co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand.
Quarterfinal losers will not just go home but play to produce two teams that will join other teams from five other continents in a play-off tournament for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup finals.