Abuja, – On May 9, the national senior female football team, Super Falcons and their Malian counterparts will lock horns in an all-important 2016 Olympic Games qualifying match at the National Stadium, Abuja.
Both teams have become familiar foes having met during the qualifying matches of the 11th All Africa Games (AAG) in September at which the Super Falcons won 9-1 on aggregate.
Going by the outcome of the AAG qualifiers, it can be said that it would be an easy ride for the Falcons as they overcame their opponents 8-0 in the first leg after holding them to a 1-1 draw earlier in Mali.
But it might not be as easy as the African champions might think.
The Malian team will seek to break the jinx of qualifying for the football event of 2016 Olympics Games for the first time.
The Super Falcons on the other hand will seek to qualify for their fourth Olympics Games appearance after the 2000, 2004 and 2008 editions.
They couldn’t advance from the group stage in the 2000 edition but reached the quarter-finals stage in 2004 and also crashed out from the group stages in the 2008 edition.
Although the Falcons seems to have an edge over their opponents in terms of experience, the Malians now have an idea of what the Nigerian team entails having met twice in the last one month.
So, in view of these, they may not be an easy ride for the Super Falcons the second time in a row.
But, in spite of the information the Malians may have about the Super Falcons, they still have a plus which is the caliber of players in the team.
Also, if Asisat Oshoala of England’s Liverpool Ladies will be available for the match, it will be a plus for the team as she scored a brace in the AAG qualifiers also.
However, the Super Falcons’ coach, Edwin Okon, seemed not to be carried away with the array of advantages in their favour as he has said that they were working to perfect their strategies.
“ Our camp is bubbling with sweetness. You can see that preparations are high; we are not sleeping and we cannot sleep.
“We just have to work to make sure that we beat Mali well here so that when we get to their turf we won’t have to do too much work there.
So, we are mentally, tactically and physically ready,’’ Okon said. (NAN)