African champions Nigeria reach ninth straight Women's World Cup

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Rasheedat Ajibade in action for NigeriaRasheedat Ajibade's goal was enough to extend Nigeria's African record of Women's World Cup appearances

Reigning African champions Nigeria qualified for a ninth Women's World Cup in a row when beating Cameroon 1-0 in the quarter-finals of the Women's Africa Cup of Nations (Wafcon) in Casablanca.

Rasheed Ajibade's 57th-minute header ensured Nigeria will meet hosts Morocco in Monday's semi-final and that their Wafcon winning streak against Cameroon continues.

Nigeria are the third African nation to reach the Women's World Cup, after Zambia and Morocco qualified on Wednesday, with South Africa and Tunisia fighting it out for the final automatic slot on Thursday evening.

These sides have met at the past nine tournaments, with Nigeria winning three finals and four semis with the Indomitable Lionesses' sole victory coming in a third-play play-off in 2012.

Cameroon have failed to score against the nine-time champions at Wafcon ever since, including in their semi-final defeat last time out in 2018, and they seldom threatened Nigeria goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie in a match of few clear-cut openings.

Shots on target were few and far between, with Nigeria creating most of the chances in the first half only to fail to hit the target, in contrast to Cameroon who managed an effort on goal from their one chance.

Former Cameroon male legends such as Samuel Eto'o, who now heads up the country's federation, and Geremi were in attendance in a Stade Mohammed V whose sparse attendance was atoned for by some lively support.

Those backing Cameroon winced after the break as Atletico Madrid's Ajebade rose to head home Ifeoma Onumonu's cross, so meaning the Indomitable Lionesses needed to find a rare Wafcon goal against Nigeria to stay in contention.

Yet Cameroon's key players Njoya Ajara Njout and skipper Gabrielle Onguene failed to trouble the Nigerian backline and coach Gabriel Zabo will hope they can do more when the team enters a repechage tie on Sunday.

The clash against Botswana now represents the last chance for Cameroon, who made their Women's World Cup debut in 2019, to reach next year's finals in Australia and New Zealand.

Despite their African record of eight previous trips to the World Cup, Nigeria have only progressed past the group stage twice - firstly, when reaching the quarter-finals in 1999 and then in 2019, after the tournament had expanded to 24 teams four years earlier.

American coach Randy Waldrum has tried to improve Nigeria's level by lining up some high-profile friendlies, including two against sixth-placed Canada before the tournament, ending in a defeat and draw for his side.

He will be without star Barcelona striker Asisat Oshoala for a crunch clash in the Moroccan capital Rabat against a host nation in good form, with the four-time African Footballer of the Year having been ruled out early in the group stages through injury.

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