Nigeria’s female youth national team, Falconets’ coach, Christopher Danjuma has admitted that his side will be playing for more than gold in Thursday’s Africa Games final against Cameroon, as he acknowledged it will be a case of seeking bragging rights against a team they battled to a 2-02 draw in their last group match of the ongoing competition.
Speaking in the wake of both countries’ qualifications for Thursday’s gold medal game in Rabat, Morocco, Danjuma admitted it will be a case of playing for pride and glory at the same time, but added that he is also thinking about the future for the set of players he has in Morocco.
A cross-section of the Nigerian players declared that they are aiming for nothing short of the gold medal, with a verdict that they will come out on top in Thursday’s final against Cameroon.
This comes after their commanding 3-0 spanking of Algeria in Monday’s semi-final, in which Cynthia Aku struck in the 16th and 25th minutes, while Zainab Olapade hit Nigeria’s third on the dot of the final whistle, to set up a rematch with their east side neighbours.
Although Cameroon gave the Falconets a torid time in a second group match that eventually ended 2-2 last week, the Nigerian lasses pledged to step up their efforts and rev stronger to carry the day, as they play in the gold medal match for the first time since 2007 in Algiers.
However, the Nasarawa Amazons of Lafia handler reckoned that a youth-based squad like his should not think only of present day gains but also about what they will go on to achieve in the distant future.
He stressed that winning gold on Thursday is not the only objective for him at the competition, which previous senior teams from Nigeria have won twice, but the country, represented this time by the under-20 side, is in the final for the first time since 2007.
Heading into Thursday’s cracker at Stade Boubker Ammar, Danjuma said he is confident for victory, but also cautious,as he noted that, although his side beat South Africa 3-1 and Algeria 3-0, their second match of the group stage against Cameroon was the toughest for his team.
Danjuma confessed: “I respect every team but I came out here to be the best (but) Cameroon game has been the most physically demanding.
“Our greatest target of coming here is not gold but continuity. We want our players to graduate from this level to the senior team.
“Five players from the previous team made it to the senior category and that is what we are expecting or even more.”