Super Falcons coach Randy Waldrum has declared that his team would go all out for the bronze medal when they meet Zambia in Friday’s third place final match at the 12th Women’s Africa Cup of Nations in Morocco.
With a team missing forward Rasheedat Ajibade and Halimatu Ayinde through red card as well as an injury sustained by captain Onome Ebi during the testy semi-final clash against host Morocco, the American believed he has enough quality in the team capable of winning the tie at the Mohamed V Complex on Friday night in Casablanca.
“We have two players suspended as a result of red cards in the last game, and we also have some players down with injury. So, there will be changes but we will go for the best legs that would give us victory on Friday.” he stated at the pre-match conference on Thursday.
Defender Ashleigh Plumptre who joined coach Waldrum at the event, said they are determined to get something out of the match.
“We have a mountain to surmount, surely, but we are ready and will approach the game like the Final match,” defender Ashleigh Plumptre said at Thursday’s pre-match conference”
Meanwhile, Copper Queens coach, Bruce Mwape said that his girls have put behind them the controversial defeat to South Africa – through an added-time penalty that is still a talking point at these finals.
“We gave our all and created chances but we failed to take them and that was a mistake that we paid dearly for in the end. We have put that behind us and now, we want to win the bronze medals for our people.”
Mwape will bank on team captain Grace Chanda to inspire the Copper Queens against the Super Falcons. Chanda has been the rallying point of the southern African nation since the beginning of the tournament, in the absence of the talismanic Barbara Banda.
While goalkeeper Hazel Nali (injured against South Africa) is doubtful for Friday’s encounter, Nigeria would again rely on the agility and awareness of goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie, whose string of saves kept the Falcons in the game against Morocco until the penalty shootout. She was highly deserving of her Woman of the Match award in that tie.
With Ebi out, Waldrum could start with the US –based Payne sisters (Toni and Nicole) on either side of the rear wings, with Osinachi Ohale and Plumptre at centreback. Peace Efih, who scored one of the goals in the 4-0 defeat of Burundi in the group stage, could start in the absence of Ayinde, with the effervescent Gift Monday a probable to start in place of the suspended Ajibade at the fore.
The Copper Queens drew 0-0 with Cameroon in their opening match, before 1-0 and 4-1 wins over Tunisia and Togo respectively shot them to the quarter finals, where they edged Senegal 4-2 after penalty shootout.
The Falcons lost 1-2 to South Africa in their opening game before beating Botswana and Burundi 2-0 and 4-0 respectively, and Cameroon 1-0 in the last eight.