The Nigerian ladies are by some considerable distance the most successful female team on the continent
Former Indomitable Lionesses captain Christine Manie is convinced that the Super Falcons are built differently from the rest of Africa and deserve to be the best team on the continent.
With nine titles, Nigeria are the most successful team at the Women Africa Cup of Nations – the most significant female football competition in this part of the world.
Super Falcons’ next-level dominance
The Falcons’ winning mentality is different gravy, with the team never losing a final at the championship. They have defeated Ghana, South Africa, and Cameroon on different occasions to lift the trophy.
But Nigeria’s dominance over the Cameroonians is almost total, with nine wins and just a lone loss since the 2004 edition.
Former FC Minsk star Christine Manie succumbed to the superior firepower of the Falcons several times, including as losing finalists at the WAFCON in 2014 and 2016.
Cameroon today face their eternal nemesis Nigeria at the quarterfinals of the WAFCON 2022 in Morocco,
Manie confesses her irritation at losing to the Nigerians during her time with the Indomitable Lionesses.
The central defender admits that the Super Falcons possess a winning mentality that dwarfs their opponents and vows to find out someday what makes the Nigerians tick.
“It’s frustrating. It’s annoying. And at the same time, it’s understandable. Nigeria is a very experienced team,” the 38-year-old told Cafonline.
“This is a team that knows how to win titles. They are preparing to win the title. They do not prepare to pass towers. Here is the difference between Nigeria and the rest of the nations.
“Be careful, do not distort my words; I am not saying that nations do not want to win, on the contrary. I would like to unravel this mystery one day, what they do, what they think, how they prepare etc.”
Key to Nigeria’s winning mentality
While also speaking to CAF, former Nigerian international Rachael Ayegba has insight into how the Super Falcons are built into a relentless winning machine.
Ayegba said: “I think Cameroon has always had a good team. However, the difference is clear. When Nigeria gets to the quarter-finals, you start to feel the cup, the victory. Our eyes are on one and the same goal.
“From an early age, we have been inculcated with hatred of defeat. When we are in a competition like the African Cup of Nations, we are not there to make up the numbers.
“Like a good grandmother’s recipe, the old ones passed on this winning spirit to the new generation.”
In Morocco, Nigeria trade tackles with an unbeaten Cameroon in the quarterfinals, with a last-four ticket on the line. The winner will also secure qualification to the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
And Ayegba, former Edo Queens goalkeeper, believes the Falcons hold the advantage and secret to beating the Lionesses.
“It’s a final before the final. Looking at their last games in this tournament, we are dealing with two very good teams,” the 36-year-old said.
“I don’t think there will be many goals and that’s despite the fact that there are exceptional attacking players in both teams. The key to this match will be above all mental. Nigeria’s past in its confrontations gives us an undeniable advantage.
“Patience is also important, it will be necessary to move the ball quickly and not waste the opportunities presented.”
The Falcons’ clash against the Lionesses at the Stade Mohamed V, Casablanca, will kick off by 6 pm Nigerian time.