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Thursday, August 11, 2022

WAFCON 2022: Pinnick Confident Super Falcons Will Fly Pass Morocco

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As Nigeria’s Super Falcon battle host nation Morocco in the second semi-finals of the 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON) in Rabat on Monday, July 18, Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), and FIFA Council Member, Amaju Pinnick, is hopeful of a positive outcome from the game.

An intimidating cauldron and a highly-motivated opposition are among the challenges nine-time champions, the Super Falcons of Nigeria would be up against on Monday night.

Pinnick in a statement on Sunday charged the Super Falcons to think of Nigeria and millions of fans back home when they enter the pitch against Morocco.

“The match against Morocco will be perhaps the toughest hurdle for the Super Falcons here. However, I have told them to think of our country and the teeming support back home, and the Government that has shown them much love and encouragement.

“They must be dogged and exhibit as always, that unique Nigeria spirit that makes us overcome challenges, hurdles and obstacles. I am confident that we will be in the Final on Saturday.”

Monday night’s spectacle will see the Super Falcons aim for their 10th final match of the Women’s AFCON since the competition was launched as a biennial event in Nigeria 24 years ago. They have never failed to win a Final match, and victory over Cameroon on Thursday affirmed that they had never failed to reach the tournament’s last four.

If you consider history, Morocco’s Lionesses come into the game as dwarfs beside the Super Falcons. In the opening match of the inaugural edition of the Women AFCON, hosted by Nigeria, the Super Falcons lashed the Lionesses 8-0.

The Super Falcons have also gone ahead to win 9 titles in 11 finals before Morocco 2022, and have taken part in all editions of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in addition to playing in three editions of the Olympic Women’s football tournament, and have become a global brand.

However, on the evidence of their performance at the Aisha Buhari Women’s Football Tournament that Nigeria hosted in September last year and their run at this championship, the Lionesses do not deserve to be treated with kid gloves.

Coach Reynald Pedros will bank on the deft touches and dribbling skills of Fatima Tagnaout on the left side of the pitch, as well as the courageous and lethal Sanaâ Mssoudy at the fore. The Super Falcons must be wary of these two players especially.

On his part, Super Falcons coach, Randy Waldrum, could start with an energetic attacking line comprising Rasheedat Ajibade, Uchenna Kanu and Francisca Ordega, with Gift Monday also a possibility. Christy Ucheibe, Ngozi Okobi-Okeoghene and Halimat Ayinde should retain their places in the middle, with Captain Onome Ebi leading a rearguard that will shield goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie.

South Africa’s Banyana Banyana and Zambia’s Copper Queens will play the first semi-final at the Complexe Mohamed V in Casablanca from 6 pm, also on Monday.

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