After taking the players through their paces at Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja on Tuesday, Acting Head Coach Justin Madugu has advised his Super Falcons’ squad to leave no room for errors when they file out against Cape Verde senior women’s football team in a 2024 Women Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON) qualifiers final round first leg tie billed for Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja on Thursday.
In exclusive chat with Prompt News shortly after the team’s second training at the mainbowl of Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja on Tuesday, Madugu revealed that he has instructed the players to be business-like in Thursday’s encounter with Cape Verde in order to get a favourable result that will make the return leg match in Praia on Tuesday, December 5, 2023.
According to him the coaching crew has been perfecting the strategies to be adopted to defeat their opponents and the players have been told in clear terms how important a good result at home will be to make the second leg mere formalities, pointing out that Cape Verde is not to be treated with kid gloves.
“We are working hard to prepare our team in the best possible way to get over the finish line and get the ticket for the 2024 WAFCON in Morocco. We are aware that Cape Verde can pose a threat but Super Falcons remain a force in Africa anytime, anyday. We have told the players how important the match is to Nigerians and we cannot afford to disappoint them.
“With the quality of players we have in camp and from what I have seen from the training sessions, I have no doubt in my mind that we will defeat our opponents, although we are without a few regular players for various reasons but we are equal to the task.
Everyone in camp will play their part for the Super Falcons to qualify for Morocco 2024″, Madugu submitted.
Meanwhile, no fewer than 20 players including the three invited goalkeepers- Paris FC safe-gloves Chiamaka Nnadozie, Saudi Arabia-based Tochukwu Oluehi and Edo Queens FC goalkeeper Christiana Chinaza Obia, took part in Tuesday’s training supervised by Madugu with the only player out of 21 invited for Cape Verde double-header being the University of Pittsburgh Panthers defender Deborah Abiodun who will arrive Abuja later today.
Others who took part in the two hours training are
Mexico-based veteran defender Osinachi Ohale who will most likely lead Super Falcons rearguard against Cape Verde, stand-in captain Rasheedat Ajibade, Uchenna Kanu, Peace Efih, Toni Payne, Esther Onyenezide, Omorinsola Babajide, Esther Okoronkwo and Gift Monday.
The 11-time African Champions reached this final stage of the qualification series following the withdrawal of Sao Tome’s senior women’s football team from a second-round fixture in September even as Nigeria was drawn by in the first round.
The Cape Verdeans who arrived Abuja in the early hours of Monday qualified to meet Nigeria after eliminating Liberia on 6-2 aggregate score as the Islanders defeated the West Africans home and away, scoring 3 unreplied goals in Praia in the first leg of first round.
But in a fierce and intense return leg match, Cape Verde also beat Liberia 2-3 away from home. Trailing by 3 goals, the Liberians looked for an early breakthrough but left gaps for their opponents and facing a faulty defence, Cape Verde’s Evy Pereira found the net in 10th minute.
However, Liberia’s Patience Agbotsu made up for this setback and leveled the match in 12th minute. Cape Verde improved their attacking moves with Amar Gomes and Kleydiana Borges scoring in the 23rd and 36th minute to send the West Africans into orbit just as Hetty Kpan’s late goal in the 69th minute did not change the fate of the hosts who crashed out.
Cape Verde will train at the mainbowl of the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja by 4pm on Wednesday, the same time Thursday’s encounter will start.
Also, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) has picked Ghanaian official Ama Boateng-Nkansah as referee, with her compatriots Doris Darko, Alice Chakule and Barikisu Salifu as assistant referee 1, assistant referee 2 and fourth official respectively. Oumou Sy from Guinea will be commissioner while Madeleine Somda from Burkina Faso will be the referee assessor.
For the return leg in Praia on Tuesday, December 5, Liberian Sylvina Welma Garnett will be the referee with her compatriot Hannah Moses as assistant referee 1. Sierra Leoneans Precious Amara and Humu Marah will be assistant referee 2 and fourth official respectively, while Oumou Souleymane Kane from Mauritania will serve as commissioner and Fadouma Dia from Senegal will be in the role of referee.
Super Falcons in Camp
12 . Nnadozie, Chiamaka