Nigeria’s Super Falcons will today 7th July take on Botswana in their second game of the ongoing Women’s Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Morocco.
This article will provide guide to calculating the chances of the Super Falcons reaching the qualifying from Group C and the road to World Cup Qualification .
GROUP C MATCHDAY ONE RESULTS AND STANDINGS
Just like the 2018 edition, the Super Falcons lost the opening game to South Africa 1-2 . Botswana defeated Burundi 4-1 in the other Group C game to lead the standings on goal difference.
South Africa are 2nd with Nigeria and Burundi occupying 3rd and 4th spot respectively.
South Africa will take on Burundi on Matchday 2 by 6pm (NT) before the Super Falcons take on Botswana by 9pm.
WAFCON LAST EIGHT QUALIFICATION FORMAT
There are 12 teams at the WAFCON split into three groups of four . The top two teams in each group plus the best two third place teams will qualify for the last 8 .
This means only four teams will exit the tournament at the end of the Group stage .
In Group A , Hosts Morroco (6) and Senegal (6) are through to the Quater Finals following wins over Burkina Faso (0) and Uganda (0) on Matchday 1/2.
Zambia lead the way in Group B with 4 points followed by Tunisia (3) with Cameroon (2) and Togo (1) occupying 3rd and 4th spot respectively.
THE SUPER FALCONS AND GROUP C
As it stands, to be sure of a Quater Final spot the Super Falcons must pick at least 4 points from the remaining Group games against debutants Botswana and Burundi .
Against ‘ The Mares ‘ on matchday two, the Super Falcons will fancy their chances of victory over a Botswana womens team playing in the tournament for the first time and ranked 152 in the world (June 2022 FIFA ranking ).
The Falcons will be without Reigning African Women’s player of the year Asisat Oshoala who will return to Spain following a Grade 2 MCL strain sustained in the game against South Africa on Monday 4th July .
A win vs Botswana will ease the path to the last 8 for Nigeria but if they fail to win calculators will emerge for the computation of other teams results and the expected outcome vs Burundie that will take the defending Champions to the next round.
For example; If Nigeria loses to Botswana , The Mares will confirm their place in the Quarter final with Six points alongside the South Africans if they are victorious against Burundi .
If the Nigeria vs Botswana game ends in a draw, then the Super Falcons will have to beat Burundi in the final group game to reach the Quater Final in Morocco .
Four points will take Nigeria to the Quater Final at worst as one of two best third placed team’s .
2023 FIFA WOMENS WORLD CUP QUALIFICATION
The Nations Cup has always been the path to qualification for the FIFA Womens World Cup in Africa .
With the expansion of the Women’s world Cup to 32 teams, CAF is allocated four automatic slots which will be taken by the Semi finalists at the ongoing Women’s Africa Cup of Nations in Morocco.
Africa is also assigned two slots for a Qualification Playoffs tournament and if successful against representatives from other Confederations, Africa could field a maximum of six teams at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup .
To reach the World Cup, the Super Falcons MUST qualify from Group C . Doing so as group winners will ensure an easier Quater Final pairing against one of the best losers or they will have to go through the hard way .
For a team with the pedigree and profile of the Super Falcons In Women’s football, every team is beatable. So despite the opening day setback against a formidable Bayana Bayana team, the Super Falcons remain one of the favourites to reach the last four and possibly retain the WAFCON title.
Aside Nigeria , only Equatorial Guinea has won the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations title. With the Equatorial Guinea absent in Morroco 2022 , can the likes of South Africa , Morroco , Zambia and Cameroon stop the Falcons from winning a record extending WAFCON title ?
That is a story for another day. The challenge now is Qualification for the last 8 .