Ajibade, Ayinde set to return

The Super Falcons will be able to call on the services of key players Rasheedat Ajibade and Halimatu Ayinde for their 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup group B game against co-hosts Australia next Thursday.

The 11-time African champions secured a draw in their opening game against Olympic champions Canada at the Melbourne Rectangular Stadium which Ajibade and Ayinde missed through suspension.

The duo were shown straight red cards at the 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations in Morocco during the semi-final against Morocco, which ended in a 5-4 loss on penalties after a 1-1 draw at the end of 90 minutes.

Ayinde was the first to get marching orders in the 48th minute followed by Ajibade’s expulsion, 26 minutes into the second half.

Both players had only served a game ban before the World Cup, missing the third-place game against Zambia in the WAFCON and have now missed the second on Friday.

They will be both available for Randy Waldrum’s selection when Nigeria face Australia for their second Group B match on July 27.

Ajibade has said that the team are now focused on getting maximum points in their remaining group stage matches.

“Well done by the team to earn a point in the tough match against Canada yesterday. We remain focused on the matches ahead and will be fighting for maximum points in the subsequent matches,” she wrote on her Twitter handle.

The Super Falcons and Canada are joint second in Group B with one point, while Australia occupy first position in the group with three points after their win against Ireland.

Nigeria will square up to the Aussies at the Lang Park Stadium on Thursday (11am Nigeria time). Their final group game is against the Republic of Ireland four days later at the same venue.

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