In a repeat of 2016 Africa Women Cup of Nations (AWCON) final which the Super Falcons pipped their Cameroonian counterparts at their own backyard to record their eighth title, the two sides would once again battle in the semifinal of the 2018 AWCON at the Accra Sports Stadium for a place in the final, today.
The winner of today’s encounter also earns an automatic ticket to next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup finals in France, with the loser having another opportunity to fight for the last ticket as the third placed team will also qualify for World Cup.
To reach the semifinal, Cup holders Nigeria after a 1-0 defeat to South Africa thrashed Zambia 4-0 in their second group B match to get back in contention before the 6-0 mauling of Equatorial Guinea on Saturday earned them another semifinal stage – a stage they have never failed to reach at the Women Africa Cup of Nations.
Speaking ahead of the clash, Falcons captain, Onume Obi, expressed confidence of reaching the final.
“We are not interested in the losers’ route,” Ebi stated. “We want to get to the final and to fight to retain our trophy. We want both the World Cup ticket and the AFCON trophy.”
Also, the team handler, Thomas Dennerby, said they are not expecting anything less than victory and a place in the final which will also guarantee the Falcons a slot to the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup finals in France.
Speaking at the pre –match conference, yesterday, Dennerby said: “Our preparation is good; we simply work on the team and we don’t change so much. We had a plan coming to the tournament and we stick to it. This is one of five games in total and our objective remains a place at the World Cup as well as defending the trophy.
“Our primary objective had always been qualifying for the World Cup. We have a good opportunity to achieve that tomorrow. We have to stick by our match plan and be fully focused. Victory and World Cup ticket tomorrow will make us more relaxed playing in the Final.”
On her part, Captain Onome Ebi said: “Whenever we play Cameroon, it is always a big fight. We are prepared for the big fight tomorrow and we are sure we will come out victorious. There is no doubt that the Cameroonians have improved from the team we defeated in Yaounde in 2016. But that is expected.
“Whatever the opposition, we study them and apply what is necessary for us to win. We are the champions and we know how to approach the game to get victory.”