Rasheedat Ajibade has shared her feelings after Nigeria earned a ticket to the 2023 Fifa Women’s World Cup. The Super Falcons achieved that feat following a 1-0 win over Cameroon in the quarter-final of the ongoing Women’s Africa Cup of Nations. After a goalless first half at the Stade Mohammed V in Casablanca, the Atletico Madrid forward powered the West Africans to victory in the 53rd minute – heading Ifeoma Onumonu’s cross past goalkeeper Ange Bawou.
Ajibade, who is the joint-highest scorer in 2022 Wafcon with three goals, was named player-of-the-match for her awe-inspiring display against Gabriel Zabo’s Indomitable Lionesses. She went on social media to relish the triumph that will see Nigeria represent Africa in the competition to be co-hosted by New Zealand and Australia.
“Every time I call, he answers me. My help comes from the Lord. Naija, we are going to the World Cup,” the 22-year-old wrote on Twitter. The reigning African champions continue their quest for a 10th African diadem with a semi-final clash against hosts Morocco on Monday at the Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium, Rabat. Randy Waldrum’s side began Wafcon 2022 on a shaky note after losing 2-1 to South Africa in their opening Group C encounter. However, they bounced back to qualify from their zone thanks to victories over debutants Botswana and Burundi. After representing Nigeria at two FIFA U17 Women’s World Cups and the 2016 FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup, Ajibade made her Wafcon debut in 2018. In a recent interview with the Caf website, Ajibade – who is a graduate of accounting – explained why she had to delay her move into professional football. “My family likes education. I feel like I had to finish my degree first. It was important for me to finish school because I was also underage to move abroad so it was a bit challenging because when I saw people that I was older than playing in Europe – while I was still playing in Nigeria – it was tough,” she said. “But when things like this happen, you have to know the right time to make a move. When you believe in God, things align and fall into place. “Education is very important because you can fall back to it after you are done playing football.”