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Asisat Oshoala: Super Falcons looking beyond South Africa

Nigeria striker Asisat Oshoala says her side is looking beyond facing title rivals South Africa at this year’s TotalEnergies Women’s Africa Cup of Nations in Morocco.

The record nine-time African champions will open their 2022 WAFCON campaign just as they ended the last edition against 2018 runners-up Banyana Banyana, having been pitted in Group C, alongside Botswana, and Burundi.

The Super Falcons bowed twice in last three meetings with South African since 2018 but the Barcelona star insists her side is underestimating no side, including Desiree Ellis’ team in their quest for another record-extending 10th continental crown.

“I don’t think the opening game is a decider of the tournament, and by the way, its not only South Africa we will be facing. It’s a whole tournament,” Oshoala told CAFOnline.com.

“We are not going to be seated talking tough about just one team [South Africa]. Obviously, they are a very strong team, 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, Morroco, and other great teams in Africa to face.

“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.”

Despite an injury-hit season, Oshoala won Spain’s Pichichi prize with 20 goals, becoming the first African woman to do so and second African after Cameroon’s Samuel Eto’o with Barcelona.

Ahead of her fifth WAFCON appearance, the four-time African Women’s Player of the Year is upbeat about replicating her Barcelona’s goalscoring impact for Nigeria in Morocco, while opening up on her personal and Super Falcons’ ambitions.

“I think its 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,” the 2014 WAFCON best player and 2016 topscorer, continued.

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

“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 per cent whenever I am given the opportunity to play. I am in a positive mood going into the tournament.

“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. 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 final preparation in Abuja on Wednesday, June 15 and are scheduled to face South Africa in their tournament’s opening match at Prince Moulay Hassan Stadium in Rabat on July 4.

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