Nigerian women national team are currently putting house in order in Ivory Coast’s commercial capital Abidjan where they played a friendly match against the U16 male outfit of Asec Mimosas on Friday ahead of the 2018 Africa Women Cup of Nations holding in Ghana.
The Super Falcons coach Thomas Dennerby told ACLsports that he purposely chose an all- male team to stretch his girls and bring the best out of them in an unusual situation.
“You saw how they were challenging, chasing and knocking those boys down. That was what I wanted. Imagine doing that against a women team. The final score doesn’t matter. What I wanted was that stretch and intensity from a strong opposition. The Asec U16 are the best in the country,” he said.
The game ended 4-1 in favour of Asec, however, the Super Falcons rolled out exhilarating displays, especially in midfield, drawing applause from the crowd at the Sol Beni facility. But the coach says some corrections need to be made ahead of the tournament.
“We are still working, although I believe my team is battle ready. We need to correct certain things I wouldn’t reveal here. You saw how the goalkeepers performed. In our regular situation they wouldn’t concede those goals and Asec goalkeeper had to do lots of saves. That shows the level we are aiming to achieve before we leave for Ghana.”
Nigeria are the most successful team at the AWCON with 10 titles but Dennerby says that pedigree comes with ‘huge pressure’ they would have to deal with.
“The Super Falcons are a team to beat at the tournament. Everybody coming against us would play their best in order to overcome us. I am happy about that. It is huge pressure that gives us motivation. We are not afraid of anybody. We will play our game team by team, without underrating any side,” he said.
The Nigerian delegation leaves Abidjan for Ghana on Wednesday November 14.
The 2018 Africa Women Cup of Nations kicks off on November 17 to end on December 1.