Ahead of its semifinal clash today at the Accra Sports Stadium for the African Women Cup of Nations, the Super Falcons of Nigeria and the Lionesses of Cameroon, have promised each other a tough one, as both teams also battle for a final spot and an automatic ticket to next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup in France.
The match slated for 4:30pm (Nigerian time) promises to be an epic one.
Here are some of the pre-match quotes;
Thomas Dennerby (Head Coach, Nigeria)
It’s one of the games I am looking forward to as a coach of Super Falcons because of the rivalry between both countries at the AWCON. Preparations are good so far. We had a plan coming into this tournament and we are on course so far. After the initial setback against South Africa on match day one, we regrouped and decided to show what champions are made of and we bounced back against Equatorial Guinea and Zambia and that has brought us here.
As a coach sometimes it’s good to be under pressure and I have been in this situation before so it’s not a new thing to me. I am relaxed and players are taking it easy. That doesn’t mean that we are not taking the game serious, on the contrary we are very serious, but being too serious sometimes have a negative effect on a team. That is why we are looking relaxed. But trust me we are very fired up for the game.
When we started the tournament the vision was to pick one of the two tickets to the Women’s World Cup in France next year. Indeed winning the trophy is part of the plans too, but for now our immediate plan is to be at the World Cup. Once we go into the final and secure the ticket, then we plan for whoever we meet at the finals.
I agree with anybody who says it’s going to be a tough game tomorrow and we are aware of that fact, but my players are motivated enough for the game. We have to be good in all aspects of the game tomorrow.
Onome Ebi (Defender, Nigeria)
For me and my team we are very prepared. Right from the start of the competition we have been taking everything step by step and now we face the Cameroonians. The Cameroonian team has been good and solid over the years and anytime we play against them it’s always a fight and like my coach said, we are prepared and just waiting for the day to come.
The coaches have worked on us since the South Africa game and they know what to do to us come tomorrow to ensure that we get the win.
And I want to comment on this issue that just was asked about our team being an aging one. So far as I am concerned this not the Under-17, Under-20 or under-23. It’s the senior national team and does not have any age requirements.
If the player is as old as 40 and the coaches feel she is the best person to play ahead of the 18 year old, it shouldn’t be a problem, as long as she can deliver. So if anyone wants to see younger girls play then my advice is for them to go watch our junior teams.
Joseph Brian Ndoko (Head Coach Cameroon)
We have prepared for this game physical and mentally. Playing against Nigeria has always been tough. They beat us at the last edition played on home soil in the final and that was a painful one. So we are here to revenge. So far we have had a good tournament. We came to play five matches and we are on course.
The game against Nigeria will be the final before the final because of the rivalry between both countries especially at the women’s football level and tomorrow it will be renewed again. We as a team have one thing only on our minds and that is to make sure we beat Nigeria and move to the finals. We came here to play five matches and tomorrow we play the fourth.
Nothing will change in terms of preparation ahead of the game. We are going to approach it with the same mentality and that is to win it. This is the game the whole of Cameroon will be looking up to with rapt attention because of what happened in the last edition. By then I wasn’t the coach, but I felt the pain as a Cameroonian so for me it’s going be revenge and the girls too know what is at stake.
Gabrielle Aboudi Onguene (Forward – Cameroon)
There is no pressure on us going into the game tomorrow. I think one of the things that will help us is the fact that we have played all our matches here at the Accra stadium and we are used to the pitch. The morale in camp is very high and we are preparing very well to meet Nigeria and hopefully we will triumph this time.
For us the playing body, we are fired up to meet them. What happened in the 2016 is not on our minds. All we want is to win the cup for the first time and we see Nigeria as one of the hurdles we have to scale to get the finals. So yes we are very ready for tomorrow’s game and like coach said we should have good result at the end of the day.