NIgeria Vs Cape Verde: WAFCON Qualifier Match Preview

Nigeria vs Cape Verde is one of the 2024 Women’s Cup of Nations Cup [WAFCON] qualifier. Here is a preview of the match as presented by SPORTSRATION.

MATCH DETAILS

Type of Competition: 2024 Women’s Cup of Nations [WAFCON] Qualifiers.

Fixture: Nigeria Vs Cape Verde

Date: November 30, 2023 [first leg] December 5, 2023 [Second leg]

First leg kickoff time: 4pm

First leg venue: Moshood Abiola Stadium, Abuja

ABOUT THE MATCH

Nigeria will host Silvéria Nédio tutored Cape Verde in the first leg of the qualifier at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium on Thursday, November 30, 2023 by 4pm before travelling to the western coast of the African continent for the return leg in Praia on December 5.

The Nigeria women’s national team reached this final stage of the qualification series following the withdrawal of Sao Tome and Principe Women’s national team from a second-round fixture, back in September 2023.

For Cape Verde to reach this final qualifcation round, they defeated Liberia 6-2 on aggregate in September 2023.

The WAFU A Women’s Championship finalists have seen their reputation soar significantly in 2023 and will add more weight if they upset the Super Falcons to book a 2024 WAFCON ticket.

Whereas, Cape Verde are ranked 133rd in the world and 19th in Africa, the Super Falcons of Nigeria occupy 32nd place in the world and are the best in Africa.

With 101-places separating both teams, it is Nigeria who are favourites to qualify for another WAFCON tournament but should be wary of this free scoring Cape Verde Women’s national team that have scored 19 goals in their last six games while conceeding only 4 goals.

The aggregate winner of the match books qualification for the 2024 Women;s Africa Cup of Nations tournament which will be hosted by Morocco.

TEAM NEWS

Super Eagles of Nigeria Stand-in coach, Justin Madugu will be without some key players.

FC Barcelona star, Asisat Oshoala headlines this list which includes, Michelle Alozie, Halimatu Ayinde, Jennifer Echegini, Ifeoma Onumonu and Ashleigh Plumptre who has not played for the team post 2023 women’s world cup for personal reasons.

Coach Justin Madugu will be banking on experienced names like goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie, Atletico Madrid forward Rasheedat Ajibade, Sevilla midfielder, Toni Payne and Racing Louisville of USA striker Uchenna Kanu to lift his young charges past Cape Verde.

For Cape Verde, no fewer than 11 foreign-based players who ply their trades in the Portuguese and Spain have been invited by Coach Silvéria Nédio to face Nigeria.

The teams top-scorer and most capped player, Irlanda Lopes ( 27) of Portuguese club Amora headlines the Cape Verde player list.

Other foriegn based players available for Cape Verde are defenders Leonilde Rodrigues (25) of Portuguese club Amora and Adriana Semedo (24) of Real Zaragoza, Spain; Forwards Ivania Moreira ( 30) of Racing Power, Melatcha (23) of Portugal Damaiense, Evy Pereira (29) of Racing Power and newly invited duo, Letícia dos Santos of Sport Club Mirandela, Portugal and Netherlands-born Jolina Amani (24) of FC Braga.

Midfielders Kleydiana Borges (28) of Vitória de Guimarães, Eleia Vieira ( 23) of Portugal Amora and Sasha Wahnon ( 26) of Portugal Amora complete the professional players called up to do battle with the Super Falcons of Nigeria.

WHAT HAS BEEN SAID

Nigeria’s stand-in coach Justin Madugu and midfielder Toni Payne say the Super Falcons would not underrate their opponents, who are ranked 133rd in the world by FIFA.

Madugu said “Gone are the days when people play football with names, and when you hear a particular country, people assume they are not a football country without us knowing how much they have invested into their game.

“Over the past three years, Cape Verde have greatly improved, and they have invested so much in their game. The first major tournament they performed in was in WAFU in 2020 and they came fourth. This year, they also did well getting to the final and only losing to Senegal by just one goal.

“People do not realise they have as many as 11 of their professional players playing in Portugal, they have that experience and the home-based players at home are coming from two major teams so they have the advantage of having that understanding since they have been together for quite a while.

He continued ” You will not just assume that it will be a stroll in the park, certainly, we are not taking anything for granted, look at the results across Africa now and you can’t take anybody for granted, if you do that, it’s at your own peril.”

“We all know what is at stake, the players themselves know what is at stake, the players that are here, you can see that they are not taking anything for granted and the ones that are not here, we know they are also prepared.

“You must put in every effort to ensure that you win, no one is just going to come to the field and just allow you to get whatever you want, they will put up a fight, so you  must be ready for the fight so that at the end of the day, you get the result you deserve.”

On the absence of some key players like Asisat Oshoala, the coach added , “We are without a few regular players for various reasons but we are not here to dwell on that. The Super Falcons’ team remains the Super Falcons anytime, any day, and anywhere. We have players in camp who will do justice to the badge and get us the qualification ticket to the AFCON.

“Surely, we would have wanted a couple more days for the team to train together, but the fixture is the fixture and the window is the window, and we just have to make do with what we have and get the best out of the arrangement. Everyone in camp will play their part for the Super Falcons to qualify for Morocco 2024.”

For midfielder Payne, the Falcons will be wary of their not too popular opposition.

“I haven’t heard much about them, they are a little bit unknown in terms of how they play. We will see some videos to know more about them,” Payne told NFF TV.

”We just build on what we normally do and focus on ourselves. Our way of playing is keeping the ball. We can’t afford to take them for granted.

“We believe if we have the ball it will be difficult for the opponent to score. We will try and stick to our plan and get a win.” she concluded.