Home Sports 2022 Women AFCON: We Are Prepared Against Cote d’Ivoire’s Strength -Randy Waldrum

2022 Women AFCON: We Are Prepared Against Cote d’Ivoire’s Strength -Randy Waldrum

Randy Waldrum
Randy Waldrum

Nigeria’s Super Falcon coach, Randy Waldrum has admitted knowledge of Cote d’Ivoire’s strengths ahead of the final qualifying round for this year’s TotalEnergies Women’s Africa Cup of Nations in Morocco as his side are preparing for Friday’s first leg game in Abuja.

Nigeria are eyeing a 12th consecutive appearance at this year’s continental showpiece but must avoid another upset against the Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire, who dumped them out of Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualifier in 2019.

Since 2015, the Nigerians are yet to record an outright win in the last five meetings with the Ivorians, but the American tactician is unperturbed as he is motivated by his team’s mood and depth ahead of their first leg this week.

“The spirit in the camp is very high and positive. The players have been looking forward to these matches for some time now and their professionalism has been fantastic,” Waldrum told CAFOnline.com.

“I think we have a good understanding of Cote d’Ivoire and their current side. I’m not big on past history as that is why they call it history. The previous matches have no bearing on this one.

“We recognize the strengths of our opponents and will be prepared for that. Obviously, it’s vitally important to our goals of achieving another FIFA Women’s World Cup berth. Playing the first match at home is important as well to get on the front foot in everything we do.”

Nigeria’s only triumph over the Ivorians in the last five ties came via a penalty shootout after Uchenna Kanu’s late finish cancelled Ange N’Guessan’s opener in the 2019 WAFU Cup final in Abidjan.

Clementine Toure will be banking on the experience of former Barcelona and Tenerife star N’Guessan, while Waldrum is looking up to his array of talents to snatch the vital WAFCON ticket.

“She (Ange N’Guessan) is a good player along with a few others. Having said that our results will depend on the performance of our players,” the former Trinidad and Tobago boss continued.

“We have some talents in our team as well. We also understand how they will try to play against us, and the physical component is one part of it. We will cope with this well and as I said before controlling the game can eliminate some of those issues.”

In October, the African champions advanced on a 2-1 aggregate win over Ghana despite a 1-0 second-leg loss in Accra, which marked their first-ever defeat in the history of the WAFCON qualifiers.

On the historic loss, the 65-year-old gaffer reflected on the misadventure against the Black Queens in Accra but is upbeat they can put up an improved display against the Ivorians.

“Ghana were a very good side and getting past them was one hurdle. We didn’t control the game against Ghana as well as we should apart from the first half of the home leg,” he admitted.

“As I said before, getting past Cote d’Ivoire means we continue on our goal of achieving the Women’s World Cup qualification. So, we must do a better job of this against Cote d’Ivoire.

“Also it always comes down to the players and who is available. Right now we are in a pretty good place with that.”

Nigeria will be at home in the first leg against the Ivorians at the MKO Abiola National Stadium Abuja on February 18 before travelling for the decisive return leg in Abidjan on February 23.

Packaged by Lanre Olabisi

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