Daily Trust (Abuja)

18 July 2012

Nigeria: Falcons Will Defend Title - Ikhana

Head coach of Nigeria's Senior National Women team, Super Falcons, Kadiri Ikhana, says Nigeria will work hard to defend her title at the oncoming Africa Women Nations Cup in November.

The Super Falcons, has been drawn against Cameroon and Ivory Coast in the 8th edition of the African Women's Championship to be hosted in Equatorial Guinea.

While acknowledging that the Group was a strong one, Ikhana noted that: "We (Nigeria) have been drawn in a very strong group and we have to be well prepared to progress to the semi-finals and the finals.

"Cameroon is a good side. They are ranked second in Africa and we have to remember that they stopped a very good Ghana side on their way to the finals in Equatorial Guinea."

According to Ikhana, "Ivory Coast is also a strong team and we will not underrate them. They defeated Mozambique by 12-0 on aggregate so we know they are a team that scores lots of goals."

" However, we have no fears. We respect all the teams in our group and we will put in the work and make sure we are adequately prepared to defend our title. I have no doubts that we will make it past the group stage."

Nigeria have won the AWC six times and the only side to break their stranglehold on the event is Equatorial Guinea, who clinched the title on home soil in 2008.

Groups

Nigeria is in Group B alongside Cameroon, ranked number two in Africa, Ivory Coast, and Ethiopia.

The Falcons will open their campaign against The Indomitable Lionesses of Cameroon on October 29, 2012 in Bata, and Ikhana believes that a good display against the Olympics-bound side will boost the confidence in the Nigerian camp.

"The first match is always the toughest one so I am pleased that we will face Cameroon in our opening fixture. If we can outplay them it will be to our advantage because it will boost the team's confidence ahead of the other matches."

Group A features host Equatorial Guinea who won the title on home soil in 2008 when they defeated the Super Falcons in the semi-finals. They will open their campaign against Olympics-bound Banyana Banyana of South Africa on October 28, in Malabo.

Also drawn in Group A are Senegal and Democratic Republic of Congo.

The tournament will run from October 28, 2012 to November 11, 2012

Group A:

Equatorial Guinea

South Africa

Senegal

DR Congo

Group B:

Nigeria

Cameroon

Ivory Coast

Ethiopia

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