Monday, 29 October 2012

Nigeria battle Cameroon

Super Falcons celebrating after a victory at the 2011 African Women’s Championship in South Africa

Super Falcons will on Monday begin their campaign at the 2012 African Women Championship against the Cameroon Lionesses. Apart from aiming to defend their African title, the Nigerian ladies should be eager to avenge their elimination from the London Olympics by Cameroon.Hosts Equatorial Guinea defeated South Africa 1-0 in the opening match of the competition on Sunday. After winning the African cup in South Africa, the six-time African champions were knocked out by Cameroon in the qualifying rounds of the 2012 London Olympics. They lost 4-3 on penalties after aggregate scores stood at 3-3.Former coach of the Nigerian team Paul Hamilton is confident that the Falcons can hold their game against Cameroon.He said, “The AWC in Equatorial Guinea will be exciting for us; we lost the title first there against hosts and reclaimed it in South Africa. And with infusion of U-17 and U-20 players and discipline brought into the team by manager, Kadiri Ikhana I’ve no fear of their success.“I want them to concentrate on winning the first game against Cameroon. Cameroon will come tough but I think Falcons have what it takes to overpower them. Victory against the Central African neighbours will boost their confidence going into next games.”The Falcons are yet to lose to Cameroon at the African championship.The first meeting between the two nations at full international level was when they clashed in a 1991 World Cup qualifier when Nigeria triumphed 6-0 on aggregate.Nigeria again beat Cameroon in the final of 2004 AWC 5-0, before both countries met in 2010 edition in the semi final with Falcons victorious 5-1.Falcons arrived in Equatorial Guinea without strikers Francisca Ordega and Desire Oparanozie, who have not been released by their new Russian club and their absence could be quite a huge gap for the Nigerians. The Falcons have won this biennial competition a record six times and are eager to win at Equatorial Guinea where they failed in 2009.Another former Falcons coach Ismaila Mabo told MTNFootball.com that Falcons are again the tournament favourites. He said, “Falcons are favourites to win AWC again, but they have to take it one game at a time because we also have remarkable improvements in the other countries, particularly a country like Cameroon.“The Falcons will win if they take them seriously and take their chances.”The other teams in Group B are Ethiopia and Cote d’Ivoire.
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