(Editor’s Note: This story has been updated since it’s original posting)
Pitt’s women’s soccer coach Randy Waldrum has led the Nigerian women’s soccer team to earn a berth in the 2023 Women’s World Cup.
"I was almost in tears…"@NGSuper_Falcons coach Randy Waldrum describing emotions after last night's quarter final win over #TeamCameroon and qualification for the 2023 #FIFAWWC #GoingFor10#WAFCON2022 pic.twitter.com/LVXHGAmgJ5
— George I. Essien (@iamMightyGeorge) July 15, 2022
On Thursday, Nigeria defeated Cameroon, 1-0, to advance to the semifinal round in the African Women’s Cup of Nations (WAFCON) tournament in Morocco, securing a berth in the big dance next year, the Women’s World Cup, which will be held in Australia/New Zealand.
🕓FT' in Casablanca| We are through to our 12th consecutive semifinal and also guaranteed her ninth Women's World Cup ticket in a row
Cameroon 0-1 Nigeria
— NGSuper_Falcons (@NGSuper_Falcons) July 14, 2022
World Cup Bound‼️
— Pitt Women's Soccer (@Pitt_WSOC) July 14, 2022
Rasheedat Ajibade scored off a header in the 57th minute to propel he Super Falcons into a semifinal match with host Morocco and extend their WAFCON win streak against Cameroon. With the win Nigeria became the third African nation, joining Zambia and Morocco, to qualify for the 2023 Women’s World Cup.
When Niagara plays in the 2023 Women’s World Cup, Waldrum, who has been at the helm of the Super Falcons since 2020, will join North Carolina’s Anson Dorrance as the only active Division I Women’s Soccer head coaches to lead a team into the World Cup.
Waldrum will pull double-duty this fall guiding the Panthers into his fifth season, while also leading the Nigerian National Team. On Wednesday, the U.S. women’s national team announced two friendlies, Sept. 3 and Sept. 6, against Nigeria. The Super Falcons will play USWNT at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kan., on Sept. 3 and three days later at Audi Field in Washington, D.C.
Ahead of the match with Cameroon, Waldrum said it won’t be an easy path to secure another World Cup berth for Nigeria against the Lionesses.
“We understand the history between Nigeria & Cameroon,” Waldrum said in his post match press conference after Nigeria defeated Burundi, 4-0, to advance to the quarterfinal round on Sunday.
“It will be a difficult game. Changing of venue won’t be any factor, the pitch will be fantastic and players are also looking forward to the game.”
Waldrum, who has been at the helm of the Super Falcons since 2020, has made it clear that his players must be at the top of their games for them to be able to beat Cameroon, another African nation which has made it into the past two Women’s World Cups played in 2015 and 2019.
🗣️ Coach Randy Waldrum @RWSuperFalcons speaks ahead of high-profile #WAFCON2022 quarterfinal duel with #TeamCameroon in Casablanca #SoarSuperFalcons #GoingFor10 #CAMNGA #WeCountOnYou @thenff pic.twitter.com/9eRwQ1Q18W
— NGSuper_Falcons (@NGSuper_Falcons) July 13, 2022
Super Falcons are the holders of the African Women Cup of Nations.
Cameroon will go into the playoffs for the intercontinental qualification path.
In addition, Pitt’s Head Coach will be quite busy this Fall.
Whle Pitt will be gearing up for the start of training camp soon, and the Fall season fast approaching, he will also be busy with the Super Falcons. But won’t have to travel as far.
On Wednesday, the U.S. women’s national team announced two friendlies, on Sept. 3 and 6, both wll be against Nigeria.
Waldrum’s assistant is Lauren Gregg, who twice served as an interim USWNT coach.
The USWNT will play at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kan., on Sept. 3 and three days later at Audi Field in Washington, D.C. It will be the USA’s first game at Audi Field following 10 appearances at RFK Stadium.
The U.S. women last played Nigeria in a friendly in June 2021 and came out 2-0 winners. At the 2015 World Cup, the US beat Nigeria 1-0 in its last group stage match.
The matches will be the USA’s first friendlies since it clinched a berth in the 2023 World Cup. There will be five additional windows before the Women’s World Cup, which will take place July 20-Aug. 20, 2023, in Australia and New Zealand.