The Nigerian women national football team is the most successful on the continent, but their West African rivals are keen on overcoming them in the race to the next continental and global tournaments
Nigeria’s Super Falcons stand in the way of the Ghanaian national team qualifying for the 2023 FIFA Women World Cup, and the Black Queens head coach Mercy Tagoe is convinced she has the key to taming the reigning African champions.
Ghana are among the most prominent footballing nations in Africa, having qualified for three FIFA World Cup tournaments. But the Black Queens did not make it to the last three editions of the Mundial in Germany, Canada, and France.
And they face early elimination again after drawing West African neighbours Nigeria in the first qualifying round of the CAF Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (AWCON), Morocco 2022.
The Awcon doubles as the African qualifiers for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The top four teams will qualify for the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, and two more teams will advance to the inter-confederation play-offs.
The Super Falcons are no mean foes, with the eleven-time continental champions one of the few teams in the world to have qualified for every edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Ghana coach Tagoe is aware of the enormity of the task ahead, but she believes she has found the secret to beating Africa’s most successful international women team.
“We always keep in mind that Nigeria are the African champions, so there is no room for complacency,” Tagoe told FIFA.com.
“Aside from the technical and tactical aspect of training, we are doing a lot of psychological exercises. I did the same routine at the WAFU Zone B tournament in Côte d’Ivoire in 2018, and Ghana beat Nigeria for the first time at that event,” she added.
The Super Falcons recently returned from a United States tour where the Randy Waldrum-led team failed to win any of their matches against Portugal, Jamaica, and the United States.