Super Falcons To Face Australia, Ireland And Canada At FIFA World Cup

Super Falcons’ teammates. Credit: Twitter/@thenff

 

Nigeria will play joint-hosts Australia, Canada and the Republic of Ireland in Group B of the 9th FIFA Women’s World Cup finals happening in the summer of 2023.

This followed the draw ceremony held in Auckland/Tâmaki Makaurau on Saturday.

Nigeria will therefore play Canada in her first match of the competition to be staged in a total of nine cities (five in Australia and four in New Zealand), and which will boast 32 teams – the biggest in the history of the FIFA Women’s World Cup since it began in China in 1991.

Joint-hosts New Zealand will battle Norway, Philippines and Switzerland in Group A.

READ ALSO: Nigeria’s Flamingos Beat US, Reach First-Ever World Cup Semi-Final

Nigeria, alongside the United States of America, Brazil, Norway, Sweden, Germany and Japan are the only seven countries to have featured in all previous editions of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, between China 1991 and France 2019.

The Falcons were on tour of Canada six months ago, where they played two matches against Olympic champions Canada, losing one narrowly and drawing the other.

Super Falcons Suffer Fifth Straight Defeat After Loss To Japan

 

The Super Falcons fell to their Japanese counterparts at the Noevir Stadium courtesy of two second-half goals from Mina Tanaka.

This will be a fifth straight defeat for Randy Waldrum’s side.

Thursday’s friendly match was part of Nigeria’s preparations for the 2023 Fifa Women’s World Cup taking place in Australia and New Zealand

Asides from a fourth-place finish at the African women’s tourney, the Super Falcons stumbled to a 2-1 defeat against the United States of America in September.

The match against the former world champions saw Nigeria out-possessed and dwarfed in shots on target, barely registering a single shot on goal.

A notable absentee from the Falcons’ line-up was the reigning African Women Player of the Year, Asisat Oshoala, who did not join the squad headed for Kobe

No reason was given for her no-show. However, she was spotted training with the Blaugrana on Wednesday.

Super Falcons Depart USA, Shift Attention To Japan Friendly

Super Falcons meet with a number of Nigerians based in Kansas City, Missouri

 

Nine-time African champions and FIFA World Cup ever-present, Super Falcons of Nigeria have flown out of the United States of America after a two-match tour in which they lost the second narrowly to three-time world champions USWNT.

Mexico –based forward Uchenna Kanu became the first Nigerian to score against the USWNT in 20 years when she slotted into the net in the 50th minute for the equalizer in the two teams’ second encounter at the Audi Field in Washington on Tuesday. The Americans won the first session in Kansas City, Missouri on Saturday by four goals.

An own goal by defender Oluwatosin Demehin in the 25th minute had put Nigeria behind in the game, just minutes after goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie made a double save from marauding USWNT attackers.

Rose Lavelle restored USA’s lead in the 66th minute when she nodded in at the far left of Nnadozie’s goal off a pull-out by Megan Rapino.

READ ALSO: RB Leipzig Sack Coach Tedesco After Shakhtar Thrashing

The delegation of Super Falcons departed from the United States on Wednesday, with the focus now shifted to the friendly with Japan scheduled for next month.

The Falcons will take on the Senior Women National Team of Japan in a prestige international friendly match at the Noevir Stadium, Kobe on Thursday, 6th October. The date falls within one of the FIFA Women International Windows for this year.

Nadeshiko Japan, which is the alias of the Women National Team of Japan, are rated 13th in the world. Both teams have clashed only once at a competitive level – at the 2004 Olympic Women’s Football Tournament. Nadeshiko pipped the Falcons 1-0 at the Karaiskakis Stadium in Piraeus on 14th August 2004.

Two back-to-back friendlies in 2013 were won 2-0 each by Nadeshiko.

Japan’s entertaining girls won the FIFA World Cup in Germany in 2011, beating Team USA in a pulsating penalty shoot-out after regulation time ended 2-2. Nadeshiko thus became the first team from Asia to win a senior FIFA World Cup trophy.

The Super Falcons have participated in every FIFA Women’s World Cup finals since the competition began in 1991, reaching the quarter-finals in 1999. They are one of the 32 teams that will take part in the biggest-ever FIFA Women’s World Cup finals set for nine cities in Australia and New Zealand from 20th July – 20th August 2023.

Super Falcons Battle World Champions USA Again

Super Falcons meet with a number of Nigerians based in Kansas City, Missouri

 

Nigeria and USA women National Senior Teams clash in Washington DC on Tuesday in the second of a two-match tour of the United States by the nine-time African champions.

Three-time world champions trounced the Falcons 4-0 in the two teams’ first encounter at the Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Missouri on Saturday, with a brace from Sophia Smith and one each by Lindsay Horan and Alex Morgan.

Both USA and Nigeria have qualified to participate in the 9th FIFA Women’s World Cup finals to be staged by Australia and New Zealand in the summer of next year.

Tuesday’s encounter will take place at the Audi Field in Washington. Audi Field is utilized by National Women’s Soccer League side Washington Spirit and Major League Soccer team, D. C. United and though the USWNT have played 10 times previously in Washington (all at the RFK Stadium), it is their first run-out at the Audi Field.

The game will commence at 11 pm Nigeria time (6 pm in Washington DC).

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Meanwhile, prior to their clash with USWNT in Kansas City, the Super Falcons took time to have a ‘Meet and Greet’ session with some prominent Nigerians based in the State of Missouri, including Adeola Ajayi (ex-Nigeria basketball team player), Chioma Atanmo (Community Manager, Sporting KC), Olofu Agbaji (ex-Nigeria basketball team player), Tijani Idris (ex-Nigeria basketball team player) and David Ehindero (a U.S –based Nigerian businessman).

Also at the simple but lively session were John Allagh (ex-Nigeria basketball team player), Prince Tega (a player with the NFL football team, Kansas City Chiefs), Ochai Agbaji (ex-Nigeria basketball team player), and Victor Ejelonu (CEO, My Village Grill Restaurant).

Super Falcons Arrive Kansas Ahead USA Clash 

File photo of Super Falcons during a training session. Credit: NFF

 

Nine-time African champions, Super Falcons, are in the United States of America on a two-match tour with the United States Women’s National Team.

The first of the two matches will take place at the Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas on Saturday, 3rd September.

Both teams, who have qualified for next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, will have a go at each other’s jugular once more at the Audi Field in Washington, D. C. on Tuesday, 6th September.

Coach Randy Waldrum has picked four members of the U-20 team that reached the quarter-finals at the just-concluded FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica. They are defenders Oluwatosin Demehin and Rofiat Imuran, and midfielders Esther Onyenezide and Deborah Abiodun.

Home-based professionals Christy Ohiaeriaku, Akudo Ogbonna, and Gift Monday are also in the delegation.

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First-choice goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie; defender Osinachi Ohale; midfielder Toni Payne and forwards Rasheedat Ajibade and Uchenna Kanu will provide the spine for an interesting Nigeria selection.

The USWNT is the most successful team in the FIFA Women’s World Cup, having won half (4) of all eight championships competed for so far. The Stars & Stripes were champions of the very first edition in China in 1991 and then won on home soil in 1999, in Canada in 2015, and in France three years ago. The team has also won four Olympic women’s football gold medals and eight CONCACAF titles.

The Super Falcons have won the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations nine times, played in every edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, and also featured in 2000, 2004, and 2008 Olympic women’s football tournaments. They remain the most successful women’s team on the African continent.

The Children’s Mercy Park is home to Kansas City in the US National Women’s Soccer League and Sporting Kansas City in the Major League Soccer, while Audi Field is utilized by National Women’s Soccer League side Washington Spirit and Major League Soccer team, D. C. United.

The match in Kansas City will see Vlatko Andonovski, appointed Coach of USWNT at the end of 2019, return to his home area for the second time. It is the sixth time that the USWNT will be playing at the Children’s Mercy Park but it is their first time at the Audi Field, though they have played 10 times previously in Washington – all at the RFK Stadium.

Andonovski says he’s excited to send out his girls against the Super Falcons: “First, I’m just excited to play two matches against Nigeria. They have some very talented players who will present a lot of different problems for us to solve on both sides of the ball.”

SUPER FALCONS  SQUAD FOR FRIENDLIES WITH USA

Goalkeepers: Chiamaka Nnadozie (Paris FC, France); Christy Ohiaeriaku (Edo Queens)

Defenders: Nicole Payne (West Virginia University, USA); Glory Ogbonna (ALG Spor, Turkey); Osinachi Ohale (Deportivo Alaves, Spain); Michelle Alozie (Houston Dash, USA); Akudo Ogbonna (Edo Queens); Oluwatosin Demehin (Rivers Angels).

Midfielders: Jennifer Echegini (Florida State University, USA); Christy Ucheibe (SL Benfica, Portugal); Toni Payne (Sevilla FC, Spain); Amanda Mbadi Uju (Atasehir Belediyespor, Turkey); Deborah Abiodun (Rivers Angels).

Forwards: Rasheedat Ajibade (Atletico Madrid, Spain); Rofiat Imuran (Rivers Angels); Uchenna Kanu (Tigres Femenil, Mexico); Vivian Ikechukwu (WFC Gintra, Lithuania); Ifeoma Onumonu (NY/NJ Gotham FC, USA); Gift Monday (Bayelsa Queens); Esther Onyenezide (FC Robo Queens).

WAFCON: Morocco Prevail Over Nine-Woman Super Falcons On Penalties In Rabat

Nigeria’s players pose for a group picture during the 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations semi-final football match between Morocco and Nigeria at the Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium in Rabat on July 18, 2022. (Photo by AFP)

 

Nigeria withstood a number of adversities before narrowly losing to host nation Morocco after a penalty shoot-out, in a supercharged 12th Women Africa Cup of Nations semi-final match in Rabat on Monday.

A total of 45,562 spectators turned the Complexe Prince Moulay Abdellah into a boiling cauldron, and only their experience, guts, grit and determination kept the nine-time African champions firmly in the game as their every move was booed while the Lionesses were roared on the moment they had the ball.

The Lionesses, who last played at the Women AFCON 22 years ago, before the current finals that they are hosting, started like a house on fire and pegged the Falcons to the rear in the early minutes. But gangling Ifeoma Onumonu should have given Nigeria the lead in the 13th minute when she was brilliantly set up by Ngozi Okobi-Okeoghene.

READ ALSO: Buhari Hails Super Falcons’ Qualification For 2023 Women’s World Cup

Three minutes later, Okobi again showed good anticipation to truncate the Moroccan surge and set up Onumonu, but the forward again failed to make hay.

In the 34th minute, Okobi deftly intercepted again at the edge of the box, but her effort screamed away from the goal.

Admittedly, the Lionesses were comfortable on the ball with excellent control and crisp passes, with captain Ghizlane Chebbak, Sanaa Mssoudy and the precocious Fatima Tagnaout threatening the Nigeria goal now and again as they weaved swiftly about the pitch.

Three minutes into the second half, Mauritian referee Maria Rivet stopped play for a VAR check, only to return and hand a red card to midfielder Halimat Ayinde. The decision shocked the Super Falcons, who had been challenged by lasers focused on their eyes by spectators, but they refused to cave in to onslaught after an onslaught by Mssoudy, Tagnaout, Yasmin Mrabet and Rosella Ayane.

In the 52nd minute, captain Onome Ebi saved on the line with goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie stranded, and it was the turn of Ashleigh Plumptre to do the same two minutes later as Ebi crashed into Nnadozie in yet another invasion by the Lionesses.

In the 55th minute, Rasheedat Ajibade’s pull-out was plucked by goalkeeper Khadija Er-Rmichi, but seven minutes later, Nigeria were ahead after Ajibade twisted, turned and crossed for Ifeaoma Onumonu to powerfully head against the upright. The melee saw Yasmin Mrabet flick the ball into her own net.

Morocco were level only four minutes after when Nnadozie failed to deal with a cross by the ubiquitous Tagnaout and Mssoudy gratefully slammed into the net.

In the 71st minute, Rivet again stopped play for a VAR check, and this time handed Rasheedat Ajibade a red card, reducing the Falcons to nine women.

Nnadozie made a dozen saves towards the end and in the ensuing extra time, with the Lionesses all over the place, but Nigeria could have won it when Gift Monday beat the hosts’ defence on the counter and crashed a well-measured shot against the crossbar, only for the ball to roll out.

In the penalty shootout, forward Ifeoma Onumonu missed for Nigeria as Rita Chikwelu, Regina Otu, Ashleigh Plumptre and Gift Monday scored. Morocco scored all their kicks, through Yasmin Mrabet, Ghizlane Chebbak, Zineb Redouane, Nesryne El Chad and Rosella Ayane.

Morocco will take on South Africa (1-0 winners over Zambia in the first semi-final) in Saturday’s final in Rabat, while the Super Falcons tango with the Copper Queens of Zambia for the bronze medals in Casablanca on Friday.

Buhari Hails Super Falcons’ Qualification For 2023 Women’s World Cup

 

 

President Muhammadu Buhari congratulates Nigeria’s Female Football team, the Super Falcons, for qualifying for the Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand in 2023 after their emphatic quarter-final victory at the ongoing Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON) in Morocco.

Super Falcons, the record nine-time tile holder and defending champions of WAFCON, triumphed 1-0 over Cameroon on Thursday night.

In a statement by his special adviser Femi Adesina, the president lauded the spirited performance of the team in the tournament and for maintaining its dominant posture as undisputed champions of the round-leather game and most successful international women’s football team in the continent.


READ ALSO: Super Falcons Beat Cameroon To Reach WAFCON Semis, Qualify For Ninth World Cup


Having won the tournament twice in 2016 and 2018, under this administration, the president assured the girls and their handlers that the whole nation is strongly standing with them and will continue to cheer them on until the final whistle in Morocco.

He prayed that the Super Falcons, who have produced some of the greatest African players in the history of the women’s game, will surpass their achievement in the last Women’s World Cup in 2019, where they advanced to the Round of 16, for the first time in 15 years.

President Buhari also said he looks forward to the next generation of upcoming stars, who through hard work, discipline, resilience and determination, will one day win the World Cup for Nigeria.

Super Falcons Beat Cameroon To Reach WAFCON Semis, Qualify For Ninth World Cup

 

The Super Falcons on Thursday beat their Cameroonian counterparts by a lone goal to seal a semi-final position n the African Women’s Cup Of Nations tournament holding in Morocco.

The victory also see the Falcons secure a ninth world cup ticket in a row.

A resolute defence from the Cameroonians left the match deadlocked at half-time after a dominant display from the Nigerian side

 

However,Rasheedat Ajibade’s 56th-minute headed goal was the difference between the African giants on the night.

She was assisted by Onumonu who got the ball to her to head home for Nigeria.

Spirited Performance

President Muhammadu Buhari congratulated the Super Falcons, for qualifying for the Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand in 2023 after their emphatic quarter-final victory at the ongoing Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON) in Morocco.

Special Adviser to the President, Media & Publicity, Femi Adesina, made this known in a statement on Thursday.

“The President lauds the spirited performance of the team in the tournament and for maintaining its dominant posture as undisputed champions of the round-leather game and most successful international women’s football team in the continent,” the staTement read.

‘”Having won the tournament twice in 2016 and 2018, under this administration, the President assures the girls and their handlers that the whole nation is strongly standing with them and will continue to cheer them on until the final whistle in Morocco.”

The president charged the team not to rest on its victory but surpass their previous record in the upcoming Women’s World Cup tournament.

“He prays that the Super Falcons, who have produced some of the greatest African players in the history of the women’s game, will surpass their achievement in the last Women’s World Cup in 2019, where they advanced to the Round of 16, for the first time in 15 years,” he said.

“President Buhari also looks forward to the next generation of upcoming stars, who through hard work, discipline, resilience and determination, will one day win the World Cup for Nigeria.”

 

Super Falcons To Play Team USA In Prestige Friendlies

Super Falcons starting 11 against Burundi at the ongoing Women’s Africa Cup of Nations.

 

Nine-time African champions Nigeria will fly to the United States of America for a two-match tour against the United States Women’s National Team (USWNT) in the month of September.

Both teams, presently competing in their respective continental tournaments, will clash at the Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas on 3rd September and then have a go at each other’s jugular once more at the Audi Field in Washington, D. C. on 6th September.

The USWNT is the most successful team in the FIFA Women’s World Cup, having won half (4) of all eight championships competed for so far. The Stars & Stripes were champions of the very first edition in China in 1991 and then won on home soil in 1999, in Canada in 2015 and in France three years ago. The team has also won four Olympic women’s football gold medals and eight CONCACAF titles.

The Super Falcons billed to face Cameroon in the quarter-finals of the ongoing Women’s Africa Cup of Nations on Thursday evening, have won the African championship nine times, played in every edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup and also played in 2000, 2004 and 2008 Olympic women’s football tournament. They remain the most successful women’s team on the African continent.

The Children’s Mercy Park is home to Kansas City in the US National Women’s Soccer League and Sporting Kansas City in the Major League Soccer, while Audi Field is utilized by National Women’s Soccer League side Washington Spirit and Major League Soccer team, D. C. United.

The match in Kansas City will see Vlatko Andonovski, appointed Coach of USWNT at the end of 2019, return to his home area for the second time. It is the sixth time that the USWNT will be playing at the Children’s Mercy Park but it is their first time at the Audi Field, though they have played 10 times previously in Washington – all at the RFK Stadium.

Andonovski says he’s excited to send out his girls against the Super Falcons: “First, I’m just excited to play two matches against Nigeria. They have some very talented players who will present a lot of different problems for us to solve on both sides of the ball,” he said.

“Secondly, of course, we’re looking forward to bringing the team back to one of the best soccer stadiums in the United States in Kansas City, as well as getting to play our first game at Audi Field, which I’ve visited several times for NWSL games and is also a fantastic venue for our team to play in front of our home fans.”

The USWNT has already qualified for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, becoming the 12th team to reach the finals and the first team from the CONCACAF region.

Nigeria’s Falcons are also coached by an American, long-time college coach Randy Waldrum – who is aiming for a FIFA Women’s World Cup ticket and first African title with Nigeria in Morocco.

2022 WAFCON: Super Falcons In Confident Mood, Target World Cup Qualification

Super Falcons are confident ahead of their quarter-final clash with Cameroon at the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations in Casablanca.

 

Nigeria’s Super Falcons are in a confident mood as they prepare for a quarter-final clash with Cameroon at the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations in Casablanca.

Victory over the Indomitable Lionesses will secure a World Cup ticket to  Australia & New Zealand next year and coach Randy Waldrum’s team believe they will celebrate another qualification.

Semi-finalists at the ongoing continental championship in Morocco would have picked automatic tickets for the Women’s World Cup, with the team adjudged to have finished fifth presented with another chance for a shot at a playoff tournament next year.

A 1-2 defeat to South Africa’s Banyana Banyana in their opening match of Group C on Monday last week dimmed the shine of the Super Falcons, but they bounced back and won their other two matches with six points and six goals advantage to advance to the last eight.

Cameroon also had a shaky start, recording a goalless draw with Zambia in their opening match, but they picked up impressively and their reward is the most anticipated quarter-final tie at this tournament.

Nigeria and Cameroon represented Africa at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup finals in Canada and at the last edition in France three years ago, but Nigeria are the untouchables, being one of only six countries on the planet to have participated in all eight editions of the quadrennial global showpiece.

“We are ready to face Cameroon,” said Nigeria coach Randy Waldrum, after his Super Falcons arrived in Morocco’s commercial and economic capital, Casablanca on Monday ahead of Thursday’s encounter.

Thursday’s spectacle in Casablanca is expected to be explosive, but Nigeria captain Onome Ebi says the 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.”

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, the Lionesses suffered heartbreak in front of their cheering fans when Desire Oparanozie scored a late goal to give Nigeria the trophy 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 prevailed 4-2 after a penalty shoot-out on the way to their ninth title.

Morocco 2022: Super Falcons Slay Burundi, To Face Cameroon In Quarter-Finals

Super Falcons starting 11 against Burundi at the ongoing Women’s Africa Cup of Nations.

 

Cup holders Nigeria must overcome the challenge of the Indomitable Lionesses of Cameroon to qualify for next year’s FIFA World Cup finals, following the quarter-final pairings that emerged on Sunday night after the Super Falcons bumped Burundi 4-0 in their final match of Group C.

The win took the champions to six points and five goals advantage, but South Africa’s 1-0 win over Botswana meant the Banyana Banyana finished on maximum nine points and topped the group, setting up a clash with Tunisia in the last eight.

Nigeria dominated to an embarrassing degree and should have been ahead by two goals before Rasheedat Ajibade won and scored a penalty in the 25th minute after she was upended by onrushing goalkeeper Jeanine Irakoze.

Earlier, the very busy Ifeoma Onumonu shot over the sticks when clear on goal in the second minute and Peace Efih had an opportunity to rifle into the net four minutes later but opted to pass, which effort was cut off.

Uchenna Kanu scored twice to help Nigeria beat Burundi 4-0 in their last group C match at the Women’s Africa Cup Of Nations.

 

Four minutes after Ajibade scored from six yards, Peace Efih scored from a goalmouth melee after another dashing run and cross into the box by Ajibade.

Less than 60 seconds after, Nigeria were 3-0 up after Ajibade hugged the bye line and threaded the ball into the box for advancing Uchenna Kanu to hook into an empty net.

Kanu thought she had made it four in the 38th minute but her effort was ruled offside, and then came very close in the 40th and 43rd minutes only to miss from close range.

In the second half, the Falcons started the way they left off in the first period, with Ajibade lifting the ball into the box for Kanu to rifle past substitute goalkeeper Amissa Inarukundo with only 22 seconds gone.

The Falcons then took their feet off the pedal as the match puttered and petered out, even as Christy Ucheibe’s rasping drive was finger-tipped to the upright by Inarukundo in the 56th minute and Macleans Chinonyerem made a hash of a great pass from Gift Monday with five minutes left.

Morocco 2022: Banyana Snatch All Three Points In 2-1 Win Over Super Falcons

A photo taken on July 4, 2022 shows Nigerian forward Asisat Oshoala during match between the Super Falcons and the Banyana Banyana of South Africa in Rabat, Morocco. [email protected]_Falcons

 

South Africa’s Banyana Banyana edged the Super Falcons 2-1 in the opening match of Group C of the 12th Women Africa Cup of Nations in Morocco on Monday, in the process picking all three points and shooting to the top of the pool.

It was a somewhat balanced first 45 minutes with both teams unable to achieve any breakthrough.

But South Africa were up 2-0 within two minutes of the hour-mark after Jermaine Seoposenwe hooked the ball into the Nigeria defence to get a clear chance to beat goalkeeper Tochukwu Oluehi from close range, after great work by Natalie Cesane who beat hard-working Ashleigh Plumptre with classy footwork on the edge of the Nigeria area and then sent the striker on her way.

The cheers and back-slapping on the Banyana bench had hardly died down when, after a nifty exchange of passes in the middle, Michelle Alozie was beaten with a long ball on the Nigeria right and Hildah Magaia shot past onrushing Tochukwu Oluehi.

The Super Falcons looked rejuvenated after Francisca Ordega and Uchenna Kanu came into the fray for Asisat Oshoala and Ifeoma Onumonu respectively.

Two minutes into added time, Rasheedat Ajibade reduced the deficit when she found the ball at her feet in the box after good work and passed by captain Onome Ebi.

Cup holders Nigeria must gain all three points against Botswana in their second match of the competition on Thursday to revive their campaign.