Rasheedat Ajibade’s goal made the difference in a tight encounter between Nigeria and Cameroon at the quarterfinals of the 2022 Africa Women Cup of Nations on Thursday with the Super Falcons triumphing 1-0 in Casablanca. Nigeria qualify for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup following the result and eliminate Cameroon for the fourth consecutive WAFCON, who will have to try and qualify through the repechage stage and the intercontinental playoff due to the defeat. An enticing semifinal matchup between Nigeria and hosts Morocco awaits on Monday.
The two rivals played out a physical match with much at stake considering the winner would qualify for New Zealand/Australia 2023. Nigeria controlled the first half, posing a threat on set pieces as neither team was able to create a clear look on goal. Cameroon goalkeeper Ange Bawou was left scrambling on a couple of occasions following Nigerian free kick services into her penalty area but the Indomitable Lionesses stayed solid with center back Estelle Johnson standing out for her excellent defending.
Nigeria picked up the intensity in the second half and continued to maintain their dominance. After Ajibade and Cameroon’s Gabrielle Onguéné traded off target efforts in the opening ten minutes it was Ajibade who put the Super Falcons in the lead in the 56th minute. Ngozi Okobi produced a weaving dribbling run down the right wing before laying back to Ifeoma Onumonu for a deep cross towards the far post, where Ajibade headed the ball past Bawou and in off the post.
Cameroon attempted to push for a leveler but the Nigerian defense and goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie stayed sharp to limit opportunities for the Indomitable Lionesses. Onguéné had a decent look in the 67th minute but dragged her shot harmlessly wide and Cameroon hardly threatened in the game’s final half hour.
Highlights from Casablanca are below.