Like five other nations of the continent, Morocco will participate from September 15 to 21, 2021 in Lagos, Nigeria, in the first edition of the ABC tournament officially called the “Aisha Buhari Cup”.
The six-nation tournament organized during the FIFA international window will bring together the best women's national teams from the continent, including the Super Falcons of Nigeria, nine-time African champions and hosts of the event, Cameroon's Indomitable Lionesses, South Africa's Banyana Banyana, Ghana's Black Queens, Mali's Eagles and Morocco's Atlas Lionesses.
On the eve of the competition, CAFOnline.com spoke with Morocco head coach Reynald Pedros. The French-born technician is eager to gauge the level of his squad, less than one year ahead of the highly anticipated TotalEnergies Women’s Africa Cup 2022 in Morocco. And what could be better than a high level competition for that?
CAFOnline.com: What do you think of Morocco's participation in the Aisha Buhari Cup and what opportunities does it offer you and your team?
Reynald Pedros: The opportunity to participate in this tournament is something important for us because we are starting the season with this first FIFA date in September and we will participate in a tough tournament. It will allow us to shape a group and judge it against the best African nations. It is a great opportunity for Morocco to participate in this tournament.
What is your impression about your team's opponents and their pedigrees?
We are in the group of Mali and Nigeria. Of course Nigeria is the favorite. After all, a football match is always unpredictable. We will do our best to be the best we can, to win our games. But we will always be at work. It is important. It will also allow us to see our opponents. We have already played against Mali, we will discover Nigeria, we will see the other nations of group B. So, it is a group that is bearable for us because we will do what is necessary to try to finish in the first two.
Is this already a preparation for the TotalEnergies Women's Africa Cup of Nations?
This tournament, eleven months before the Africa Cup of Nations, is important for us because the best African teams [are there]. But once again, we are still in the process. We still have time. This is the first tournament we will participate in with very tough matches.
It will be up to us, of course, to do our best to go to the end and especially to draw the necessary lessons to be able to progress and to arrive fully ready for the Women's AFCON in July.
What do you think of this tournament considered to be a mini-Women's AFCON?
This is indeed the first edition of the tournament and we thank the first lady for inviting us. Which means that we are one of the best African teams, so we will do everything on the ground to show that our place is here, and in our behavior too.
I think it's going to be a tournament that will have to be renewed. When we have all the best African teams, there is quality and in any case, we will do our best to promote Morocco, to go as far as possible too, because we have ambitions.