Super Falcons will take on Lady Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire today with an eye on the 2022 Women Africa Cup of Nations. It is a final qualifying round, first leg match, which the girls must win if they are to get opportunity to defend their crown in Morocco.
To achieve that feat, former coach, Ismaila Mabo, told the coaches that it would be an unnecessary risk to list ‘unfit and tired legs’ for the game.
The Super Falcons, who are nine-time African champions, managed to beat the Black Queens of Ghana 2-1 to get to the final stage of the qualifiers, while the Lady Elephants outscored Niger Republic 20-0.
In 2019, the Lady Elephants eliminated Super Falcons in the race to Tokyo Olympics.
Today’s match against the ‘free scoring’ Lady Elephants will kick off at 4.00 p.m. at the MKO Abiola National Stadium, Abuja.
Speaking with The Guardian yesterday, Mabo, who led the Falcons to the quarterfinals at USA ’99 FIFA World Cup, the best record by any Nigerian coach, said the fact that the Ivoirians were able to score 20-0 against their opponents to get to this stage should be enough warning to Super Falcons.
“This is a big test for both the NFF and Super Falcons coaches and they must sit up,” Mabo said. “I am a bit scared because of the calibre of players we are still parading in the Super Falcons. I am not comfortable that a player like Onome Ebi, who was part of the Super Falcons’ squad to the 2004 AWC in South Africa, is still playing in the national team.”
“Even if Onome Ebi is in good shape, what about her age? I am not trying to condemn the player, but I feel that a good attacker can use Onome’s wing to cause havoc for the Super Falcons. The coaches should look for her replacement as quickly as possible and must not field unfit and tired legs in this match against the Lady Elephants,” Mabo stated.
Both teams will clash in the reverse fixture at the Stade Robert Champroux in Abidjan on Wednesday, February 23, with the winner over two legs to earn the ticket to the 12th Women Africa Cup of Nations in Morocco in July.