African champions Super Falcons must beat Kenya in their last group game to avoid meeting Cameroon in the semifinals of the 2016 African Women’s Cup of Nations, says former coach of the team, Ismaila Mabo.
The competition, which began on November 19, will end on December 3.
Nigeria, who top Group B with four points, the same points with second-placed Ghana, play Kenya in their last group match on Saturday to decide the winners of the group. Cameroon, who have nine points from three matches, top Group A and will meet the runners-up in Group B.
Mabo, who hailed the Falcons for their efforts in the competition so far, said the Cameroonians should be avoided till the final of the competition.
“It is very glaring now that the Falcons are no longer the feared team they were years ago in Africa. The other teams on the continent have been doing a lot of catch up lately and this could be seen in the match against Ghana,” Mabo told our correspondent.
“Their first match against Mali was easily won because the Malians showed the Falcons a lot of respect.
“Although the officiating in their game against Ghana was bad, the Falcons didn’t play as a team. They depended mostly on the individual brilliance, and I believe that is the result of not planning well for the competition.”
He added, “Their next match against Kenya is a must-win for the team to avoid Cameroon in the semifinals. The Cameroonians have a better team and play more as a unit than Nigeria. If the Falcons fail to beat Kenya and they end up as second in their group, their title defence would be tougher than expected.
“As hosts, Cameroon have the support of the fans. They have shown that they can grind out results against tough teams because of their showing against South Africa in their second match.
“They haven’t won it before and have finished second a couple of times, so meeting them in the semifinal will make the match very tough for the Falcons.”