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The Super Falcons of Nigeria and the Mares of Botswana will take to the pitch at the Stade Moulay Hassan in Rabat on Thursday, as both sides clash in their second Group C game, at the ongoing 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON).
This game, a do-or-die for both nations, could see Nigeria edge closer to exiting the competition or wake up from its slumber.
It could also see debutants Botswana continue their historic surge to the quarter-finals or get torn down from their high grounds.

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Either way, one of the aforementioned options is bound to happen at the signalling of the final whistle on Thursday, but which of them is it going to be?

Head-to-Head
This will be the first meeting between the Super Falcons and the Mares. Botswana are competing at this level – a WAFCON – for the first time in their history.
Botswana’s Mares won their first ever game at a Women’s AFCON and are aiming for a second against three-time defending champions Nigeria

Ahead of Thursday’s meet, Botswana secured a historic win over Burundi in their Group C opener, as Refilwe Tholakele scored twice to help her side to a 4-2 win and, to the top in the group.
Nigeria on the other hand, fell to South Africa in their group opener, conceding twice in the space of two minutes, but pulled one back late in the game.
Last 3 matches including WAFCON 2022 (Botswana): W – D – D
Last 3 matches including WAFCON 2022 (Nigeria): L – D – L
Players to Watch
Refilwe Tholakele will be one to stop as the Mares attempt to stun the Super Falcons. The 26-year-old forward was imperious against Burundi showing speed, alertness and fiery shot power.

She scored two goals and set up another to help her team to victory. Tholakele was also responsible for three of Botswana’s goals in the qualifiers.
Refilwe Thholakele scored twice and assisted one against Burundi

Beyond Tholakele, 19-year-old Keitumetse Dithebe boasts of maturity on the ball despite her age. She is brilliant at making insightful passes and against Burundi, also showed that she can score if given the slightest whiff of goal.

With Asisat Oshoala ruled out for the rest of the tournament, Nigeria will turn to budding striker Uchenna Kanu to provide the goods. Kanu, nominated alongside 29 others for the Women’s Africa Player of the Year, was before the WAFCON lighting up the Mexican League with 10 goals to her name, including 2 hat-tricks, in just 13 games.

Nigeria could turn to Rasheedat Ajibade for inspiration in the absence of Asisat Oshoala
Also for the Super Falcons, is Rasheedat Ajibade who has scored Nigeria’s last two international goals, including Nigeria’s only goal against South Africa.

The Managers

Botswana’s coach Gaoletlhoo Nkutlwisang after victory over Burundi: “Big up to the team. When we saw South Africa’s win over Nigeria, it motivated us that now we must win this game. We are so proud of the way we played.

Gaoletlhoo Nkutlwisang: a 2020 COSAFA Women Championship finalist, is one of the three female coaches at the 2022 WAFCON, the others being South Africa’s Desiree Ellis and Togo’s Kaï Tomety.

“We are competing against the best teams, and we are already looking forward to our next game and we want to continue improving.”

Super Falcons coach Randy Waldrum on switching things up: “The atmosphere in camp is good and we have regrouped. We want to win our next game. We are definitely going to make some changes from our first game

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