Ghana, Nigeria gaze at Japan with one eye
Ghana and Nigeria have one foot each at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, Japan 2012, ahead of this weekend’s second leg matches of the final round of the continental qualifiers.
Both teams managed convincing wins in the first leg matches a fortnight ago and are placed in a good stead to snatch the two slots allotted Africa for the global championship. Ghana’s Black Princesses outshone their Tunisian counterparts 3-1 in the first leg in Tunis whilst the Falconets of Nigeria cruised past DR Congo 4-0 in Abeokuta.
Despite the first leg results, the story is far from over as both Tunisia and DR Congo have whetted their appetite for a feel of the global youth women’s championship.
In Accra, the Princesses will seek to complete a double over the North Africans to reach their second successive appearance at the biennial tourney. For coach Robert Sackey, there is more to play for and he has charged his team to seal a triumphant qualification. The Tunisians are the only team to have scored against the Ghanaians and the United States trained Sackey is no mood for another surprise.
“The fact that the Tunisians were the first side to score against us is indicative of how threatening they could be. We have a 3-1 advantage but we are not taking our eyes off the ball.
“We are taking this game as seriously as the previous matches. Our target is to qualify in a convincing manner and at this point, we cannot say that goal has been achieved,” said Sackey.
Trailing by four goals, the Congolese face a daunting task in their quest to reverse their nightmare, after bowing out at the same stage two years ago. After successive appearances at the 2006 and 2008 World Cups in Russia and Chile respectively, the Leopardess look set to miss out again on the ticket, needing at least a five-goal margin to oust the Nigerians.
The Falconets appear poised to complete a record sixth qualification and having reached the final of every edition of the championship since its inception in 2002, coach Edwin Okon insists the job is not yet done.
“My girls are fully prepared for the match in Congo DR. Our victory in Abeokuta gives us an edge over our opponents but that is already history as we know that our match in Kinshasha is going to be a different ball game.
“We are not going there to under-rate the Congolese, because we know how good they are, but we certainly do not fear them. It is a battle and we are determined to win,” noted Okon.
The winners will represent Africa at the global tourney fixed for 19 August to 8 September in Japan.
Ghana vs Tunisia (3-1)
DR Congo vs Nigeria (0-4)
HOSTS COUNTRIES OF NEXT CAF COMPETITIONSOrange CAN 2012
REGULATIONS / PUBLICATIONSCAF Statutes