All is now set for the 11th edition of the African Women’s Cup of Nations (AWCON) holding in Ghana from November 18 – December 1. The tournament will feature eight countries who qualified for the final of the apex continental women’s football event. Doubts about Equatorial Guinea’s participation were cleared on the eve of the event with a late clean bill of health given to it by the continental football body, despite facing a FIFA ban if they qualify for the World Cup in 2019.
READ ALSO: Super Falcons land in Ghana for AWCON
The country’s all-conquering senior women’s football team, the Super Falcons, will open their participation at the African Women’s Cup of Nations (AWCON) with a confrontation against rivals, the Bayana Bayana (The Girls, The Girls) of South Africa. Expectations are very high at home given the team’s pedigree on the continent and its recent repositioning for more competitiveness on the global stage.
The challenge has been to do well on the global stage. Our women’s national team has qualified for the World Cup on four occasions. Given the abundance of talented players in the team over the years, many pundits and indeed fans believe our team has the potentials to do better.
It is in recognition of this fact that the present NFF leadership employed a tested coach with global pedigree, Thomas Dennerby, former handler of Swedish National Women’s football team. He has taken charge of the Super Falcons and there is hope that things will improve on the global stage for the team.
As a first step, however, the Super Falcons must qualify for the global women’s football event first and expectedly conquer Africa once more. If they succeed, it would be the ninth time in eleven editions that they would have achieved the milestone. The two times the Nigerian team did not win the championship, it went to Equatorial Guinea who along with Cameroon and Ghana are shaping up as real threats to the Super Falcons’ continued dominance of the game on the continent.
Meanwhile, the Super Falcons arrived Accra, en route Cape Coast, venue of their Group B matches on Wednesday after an intensive three-week preparatory programme which saw them train at the magnificent Jubilee Chalets and Holiday resort in Epe, near Lagos and then moving to the world renowned ASEC Mimosas FC academy, Sol Beni facilities in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire for the final eight days. The Super Falcons will open hostilities with South Africa, before confronting Zambia and Equatorial Guinea in the appetizing features of the group.
The Group A would see host country Ghana take on Cameroun, Algeria and Mali in no less promising titanic battles for the two tickets to proceed to the next stage of the competition.
The Super Falcons are poised to qualify from their own group and go on to pick one of the two tickets for the Women’s World Cup in France next year and hopefully defend the African crown which they currently hold.
Preparations for the competition, compared to past experiences, have been largely on point, except the issue of owed salaries and allowances to team members and officials. We hope that this challenge is quickly resolved so that it does not pose another threat to the expected successful outing of the Super Falcons at the continental football event.
Our past successes at the apex continental women’s football competition must never be taken for granted. Not with the increasing levels of competitiveness of other African countries as earlier alluded. The events that led to our loss of the last AWCON in Cameroon should be avoided.
The notion that our teams do better under pressure should be discarded forthwith, especially if we want to do well on the global stage. Football does not reward tardiness, poor organisation and indiscipline. We wish the Super Falcons a rewarding outing at the 2018 AWCON.