Should Nigeria fail to win their quarterfinal with Cameroon, they wouldn’t bid the competition goodbye, yet.
With the group stages of the 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON) concluded, the Super Falcons will now turn their attention to the second round of the competition.
Nigeria – nine-time champions of this competition – will hope they can journey uninterrupted to the 10th title in Morocco.
An even bigger apple dangling on the path to the final is the tree of tickets to the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
But for Nigeria to achieve either of their objectives of qualifying for the World Cup and defending the WAFCON, they would first, need to overcome three ambitious teams at three crucial stages.
To directly qualify for the 2023 Women’s World Cup, all quarterfinalists – including the Super Falcons – will need to avoid defeat at this stage.
For Nigeria, a tie against 2016 finalists Cameroon awaits at the Stade Mohammed V in Casablanca.
Both the Super Falcons and the Indomitable Lionesses finished second in their groups, with 6 points and 5, respectively.
When both nations met in the final of the 2016 edition, Nigeria came off 1-0 winners, and in 2018, defeated Cameroon in the semi-finals, thanks to a penalty shootout victory.
Should the Super Falcons fail to overcome Cameroon, they would play one more game before bidding the competition goodbye.
Following the expansion of the Women’s World Cup, Africa will send 4-6 teams: as compared to the previous three, hence requiring two more teams from the losing quarterfinalists to join the qualified four (the semifinalists).
The two more teams will have opportunities to join them by participating in and winning inter-confederation playoffs.
Should the Super Falcons lose to Cameroon, they would play the loser of the Morocco vs Botswana game to advance to the inter-confederation play-offs.
Should the Super Falcons overcome the Indomitable Lionesses, they would automatically qualify for the Women’s World Cup.
At this stage, the focus will now tilt to defending their title, hence making the final. To make the final, Nigeria will first have to defeat the winner of Morocco vs Botswana quarterfinal.
Once the Super Falcons succeed at the penultimate stage by seeing off hosts Morocco or debutants Botswana, they would hope they can repeat the same in the final against either Zambia, Senegal, South Africa or Tunisia.
Should they fail to make the final, they could slug it out for a third-place finish against one of the aforementioned four, in the third-place match.