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Nigeria v South Africa

Wafcon 2022: Nigeria and Barcelona Femeni’s Oshoala 'not so bothered playing South Africa'

18:03 BST 19/06/2022
Asisat Oshoala of Nigeria.
The Super Falcons will face Desiree Ellis' Banyana Banyana - the 2018 runners-up - in their opening game in next month

Nigeria striker Asisat Oshoala has insisted they are not bothered playing against South Africa during the 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations finals in Morocco.

The Barcelona Femeni forward will lead the Super Falcons against Banyana Banyana in their opening game at Prince Moulay Hassan Stadium in Rabat on July 4. The record nine-time African champions and South Africa are in Group C alongside Burundi and Botswana.

"We are just basically focused on working on ourselves and we are not so bothered about playing South Africa. When we get to the phase of playing them, we will cross it," Oshoala told CafOnline.

"I don’t think the opening game is a decider of the tournament, and by the way, it’s not only South Africa we will be facing. It's a whole tournament.

"We are not going to be seated talking tough about just one team [South Africa]. Obviously, they are a very strong team, and a very competitive one as well. Maybe the mindset of our team and theirs may not be the same, but we have the likes of Cameroon, Morocco, and other great teams in Africa to face."

The 27-year-old won Spain’s Pichichi prize with 20 goals and became the first African woman to do so and the second African after Cameroon's Samuel Eto'o with Barcelona, and she hopes to replicate the scoring form in her fifth Wafcon appearance.

"First of all, I think we need to understand football, talking about shifting focus and replicating the same performances, I am always ready to give 100 percent whenever I am given the opportunity to play. I am in a positive mood going into the tournament," the 2014 Awcon best player and 2016 topscorer added.

"I think it’s been a rollercoaster of different emotions, I’ve had good times and bad times, with injuries and all of that. It is just a mixed feeling for me this season.

"As usual, I'm in the competition mode, I'm excited and working hard for the tournament. After a couple of years and after being cancelled the last time [2020], we are set for the big one again."

Apart from her Wafcon ambitions, the four-time African Women's Player of the Year also hopes to carry her nation to the World Cup next year.

"For me personally, the main goal is to qualify for the 2023 Women's World Cup, because, at the end of the day, that is all that matters and every other thing coming after or with it is just secondary," she concluded.

"The primary aim is to qualify. Of course, we want to win [Wafcon], but the main goal is to qualify for the World Cup."

The Super Falcons began their preparation for the Morocco finals on June 15 in Abuja.