Super Falcons and Atletico Madrid forward, Rasheedat Busayo Ajibade has relished her return to the team for the second Group B game against Australia on Thursday, after serving her match suspension alongside Halimatu Ayinde, suffered at the 2022 AWCON semifinals against Morocco.
Nigeria opened her encounter at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia against Canada in the early hours of Friday 21st July, 2023, however, Rasheedat and Ayinde remained out of contention from the eventual stalemate, as both players got dismissed last year.
Speaking ahead of the game against the co-host, Rasheedat revealed her level of fitness and readiness to return to the thick of the action.
“Personally, I’m fine, really pumped for the game and ready to give my 100% because I am 100%,” Rasheedat stated.
The team could only muster one point from the opening encounter, with a lack of creativity in the middle of the park plus a disjointed attack posing as critical factors that led to the barren draw.
Rasheedat believes the team is ready to go against the odds with the game against the Matildas only a couple of days away.
“I expect a difficult game because we play against the host team in a big stadium in front of their home crowd, so we are going to play against a lot of factors on that day.
“But I think we got this, we’ve played against big teams on big stages before. I trust the team, we have the capacity, talent, and energy plus brining in our a-game should make a lot of difference.”
Upon her return to training after gaining eligibility to feature, Rasheedat and Ayinde were welcomed back into the squad with series of knocks and smacks from teammates in a cultural gesture of sportsmanship.
In reaction, Rasheedat teased her teammates as “unromantic” as she enjoyed the warm welcome.
“I’m happy to be back, the girls are not romantic at all (about the knocks and smacks).
“It shows how much the next game means to all of us, I’m happy with how the team welcomed me back and I’m ready to give my 100% for the game against Australia,” she added.