Former Super Falcons coach, Eucharia Uche, has warned the team against overconfidence about victory over Banyana Banyana in their Cameroon 2016 African Women’s Cup of Nations match in Limbe on Tuesday.
Nigeria, who are seeking their eighth African title in Cameroon, won Group B to set up a semifinal showdown with South Africa, who came second behind the hosts in Group A.
Banyana Banyana have met the Falcons twice in the semifinal stage of the competition with Nigeria defeating the South Africans 5-0 at the 2002 edition while the South Africans beat Nigeria 1-0 in the 2012 edition.
Uche stated that the Falcons should not underrate their opponents.
“The Falcons have done well so far in Cameroon and they are on course to retain their title but they should not be overconfident,” the former Falcons defender said.
“When it comes to games against teams that are also strong in women’s football on the continent, like South Africa. The Falcons have to give their best to beat them. The South Africans have not won the competition since its inception.
“Teams playing against Nigeria have nothing to lose and will always give their best to have a record against Nigeria.
“They have beaten us once at the semifinal stage and they will want to repeat it. So the Falcons should attack all through the match and not relax at all because it could prove costly.”
She added, “South Africa seemed to have struggled to reach the stage but when they meet Nigeria, they will be at their best and as such we cannot afford to lose to them this time around.”
Meanwhile, the Falcons coach, Florence Omagbemi, and assistant captain, Faith Ikidi, have said the team are ready for the game.
“We are focused and ready for the match. We have communicated with the players and they know that the expectation is different at this stage,” Omagbemi said at a press conference in Limbe on Monday.
“I’m happy to say I have all the 21 players ready and fit to play. However, we may make some changes. It is a big boost for us that there are no injury issues in camp.”
Ikidi said, “We want to win always, we are not tired of dominating. We communicate among ourselves positively.”
Banyana coach, Desiree Ellis, said her team would not lie low for Nigeria to beat them.
She said, “It’s a big game, the final before the finals. Nigeria want to win, we also want to win. The stage is set and we are ready to play. I don’t think it’s all about me; it’s all about the group. Mine is to coach the team and get the tactics right to win the game.”
Banyana Banyana captain Janine van Wyk has revealed that their semi-final clash against Nigeria on Tuesday is way more than a football match – it is going to be war, according to supersport.com.
South Africa progressed to the last four following their convincing 5-0 win over Egypt in their last Group A encounter to finish second and book a date with Group B table leaders Nigeria, who registered seven points from three games.
The Super Falcons have been dubbed tournament favourites courtesy of their pedigree at this tournament, which they have won a record seven times. Van Wyk, whose side has peaked at the right time, is keen to finally end their jinx at this level but Nigeria stands in their way.
“The competition starts now and from here on it is war. It is going to be war, war, war… If we want it badly enough, then we have to show it. We have overcome them before and we can do it again,” she told supersport.com.
At the 2012 edition, South Africa stunned Nigeria in an historic 1-0 semi-final win to set up a final against hosts Equatorial Guinea, but Banyana Banyana failed to complete the last hurdle as they succumbed to a 4-0 defeat.
Banyana Banyana are yet to win the continental crown and Van Wyk, who is the most capped player on the current squad with 140 appearances, feels this is the time to finally bag the African title.