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Nigeria, South Africa Prep for Next World Cup Matches

Nigeria's Uchenna Kanu (L) and South Africa's Kholosa Biyana (R) dribble the ball during their 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup opening matches.

Officials of Nigeria’s women’s national football team, the Super Falcons, and South Africa’s Banyana Banyana, Wednesday expressed confidence in their chances of reaching the knockout stages of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, despite failing to win their opening matches.

The Super Falcons are the only African team to secure a point at the World Cup after a goalless draw in their opening Group B match against Canada.

Nigeria is scheduled to play the World Cup co-hosts, Australia, Thursday.

Canada currently leads Group B with four points after securing a 2-1 victory over Ireland Wednesday. Australia holds second place with three points after defeating the Irish team 1-0 in their opening fixture. Nigeria is in third place and Ireland is in last place — and out of contention for the knockout round.

Nigeria will head into their Thursday matchup without midfielder Deborah Abiodun, who received a red card in the team's opening match.

Speaking to media during a training session this week, Nigeria midfielder Toni Payne said the West African team promises a stellar performance, despite Abiodun’s absence.

“I think we played a really good defensive game against Canada, and I think we expect to have the same performance against Australia,” Payne said, adding, “we expect to have more of the ball and do more attacking and show our talent up front.”

Payne expressed confidence that Nigeria can defeat all opponents in Group B.

“All the teams in our group are beatable teams. We have a really good team and I think if we stick to our game plan, we have a very good chance of winning,” she said.

South Africa

Banyana Banyana are set to play Thursday against Argentina in a determining matchup for the southern African team.

Currently in third place of Group G, the team must secure a minimum of four points from their fixtures between Argentina and Italy to avoid a group round exit of the World Cup.

This report was compiled by VOA’s Mike Hove with information from Nigeria's Super Falcons official Twitter page and the South African Football Association.