The Super Falcons will engage Equatorial Guinea in a crucial 2018 African Women’s Cup of Nations Group B final game at the Cape Coast stadium on Saturday (today).
The Nigerians are second in the group with three points – same as third placed Zambia, who face group leaders South Africa in the other group match.
A draw will see the Falcons through if Zambia lose to Banyana Banyana but they will need an outright win over the Equatoguineans to ensure that their title defence dreams are kept alive if She-polopolo upset Banyana.
Eight-time champions Falcons faltered in their first group match losing 1-0 to Banyana but bounced back to beat Zambia 4-0.
Having already been eliminated from the competition, two-time champions Equatorial Guinea, who won an appeal to replace Kenya on the eve of the tournament, would be seeking to end the tournament on a high after losing their first two matches – a 5-0 loss to Zambia and a 7-1 defeat to Banyana
Equatorial Guinea beat Nigeria on one occasion en route to winning the AWCON title. In the semi-final of the 2008 edition, they beat Nigeria 1-0 to progress to the final of the tournament.
But on their second meeting – in the final of the 2010 edition of the competition –Nigeria defeated the Equatoguineans 4-2 to reclaim the title.
Nzalang Nacional coach Jean- Paul Mpila said his team will give their best against the Falcons despite crashing out of the tournament.
“I can boldly say we are out of the tournament, but concerning the fixture against Nigeria, we are going to honour it. We will give our best until the last blast of the whistle. So we are prepared for the match,” Mpila said on Friday.
But Falcons coach Thomas Dennerby said he expects his team to put up their best performance against the Equatoguineans.
He said, “We hope to keep getting better and better. We are not doing any changes. We trust what we are doing and we want to get better with each match.
“We want to avoid mistakes and not worry about our opponents. We are working on as we have done from the beginning. We lost our first match against South Africa but we got back against Zambia. I hope that we have our best performance so far on Saturday.”
Team captain Onome Ebi said they were ready for the match.
“I have strong faith in the team that we are going to beat Equatorial Guinea and then we will take the knockout stage one match at a time. Nigerians should believe in the Falcons because we are here for the trophy and we are here to qualify for the World Cup,” she said.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the Nigeria Women Football League Aisha Falode has called for the addition of more domestic league players to the team.