Title holders Nigeria revived their campaign at the 2022 Total Energies Women’s Africa Cup of Nations following their 2-0 win over Botswana in Rabat on Thursday.
The Super Falcons secured their first points in Group C after the dominant display that led to the victory at the Stade Prince Moulay Abdallah in the Moroccan capital.
The defending champions lost their opening match against South Africa on Monday but made amends thanks to goals by Ifeoma Onumonu and Christy Ucheibe.
The victory gives the Super Falcons their first three points of the tournament and will have a good chance of progressing if they win their final group match on Sunday.
Nigeria won the match despite the absence of their top player Asisat Oshola who suffered an injury during Monday’s match and was ruled out of the tournament.
The Barcelona star, who is a four-time African Footballer of the Year winner, suffered the knee setback that has ruled her out of the competition.
In the absence of the 27-year-old attacker, striker Ifeoma Onumonu took charge of the attacking duties and was not overawed by the event.
Onumonu put the Super Falcons in the lead in the 21st minute when she raced past her markers before putting the ball beyond the advancing goalkeeper Maitumelo Bosija.
The USA-based attacker made the most of a pass by hardworking midfielder Halimatu Ayinde and Onumonu made no mistake from inside the box.
Goalkeeper Chimaka Nnadozie made two important saves as Botswana sought to give the Nigerians some anxious moments before half-time.
Just after the break, Nigeria extended their lead when substitute Christy Ucheibe rose highest to powerfully head home with goalkeeper Bosija completely beaten.
The Super Falcons move to second place in Group C after the victory and a win over Burundi in their final group game on Sunday will secure their place in the quarter-final.
South Africa will play Botswana in the group’s other game on Sunday.