Head coach of Nigeria’s women’s national team Florence Omagbemi is optimistic of her side’s chances of beating Cameroon in Saturday’s final of the 2016 Women's Africa Cup of Nations (Awcon).
The Super Falcons and the Indomitable Lionesses go toe to toe in the showpiece game of the 2016 Awcon at the Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo, Yaoundé on Saturday.
It is a repeat of the 2014 final in Namibia when goals from Asisat Oshoala and Desire Oparanozie [below with their MVP and Golden Boot trophies from 2014] proved decisive as Nigeria won 2-0 against Cameroon at the Sam Nujoma Stadium, Windhoek.
Omagbemi believes history will repeat itself on Saturday and insists her charges are ready to retain the Awcon title.
“The strength of this (Falcons) team has a lot to do with determination and pride.
“We are the first African side to reach the quarter-final of the Fifa Women’s World Cup and we have that at the back of our minds and will try to communicate that to the players.
Nigeria will be hoping for the same result when the two teams met in the finals in Namibia in 2014
“We try to compete with the top teams and always relay that to the players when we compete in Africa.
“We have had some distractions but we try to focus on the task at hand because the players know our objectives,” she said.
Winning against Cameroon on Saturday may be more complicated than it looks on the surface as the Lionesses have been peerless in the tournament thus far.
They have a hundred percent record after four matches and have yet to concede a goal in the tournament while breaching the rear guard of their four previous opponents on six occasions.
The Cameroonian fans have also turned out en masse for all previous games of the Lionesses, providing a cauldron of noise for opposing sides, but Omagbemi is not fazed.
“We are here to defend the trophy we won in Namibia in 2014; that is why we are here in Cameroon.
“We are playing against the hosts on Saturday. The team (Falcons) is ready mentally, physically and psychologically for that game against Cameroon.
“This is not the first time the Nigerian team is playing against the Cameroonian team.
“Some of the players that played in 2014 in Namibia are still here so we have a lot of experience.
“It will be a great game on Saturday,” she said.
Omagbemi concluded by paying tribute to former coach Uche Eucharia, the first female trainer to win the Awcon title for Nigeria.
“I am hoping to become the second female coach to win the Awcon after Uche Eucharia who did a great job with the Falcons in the past.
“She was the one who opened the door for us (female coaches), proving that we could also do it.
“These days a lot of national federations are encouraging their ex-internationals to go into coaching,” she said.