WAFCON 2022 Preview: Nigeria Vs Burundi
The Super Falcons of Nigeria will be seeking to progress to the knockout stages of the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON), when they take on Burundi in their final Group C game by 9 p.m (Nigerian time) on Sunday, at the Stade Moulay Hassan in Rabat, Morocco.
After an opening day loss to South Africa’s Banyana Banyana, the Falcons returned to winning ways on Thursday after beating Botswana 2-0.
Super Falcons head coach Randy Waldrum has hinted at possible changes in his setup yet again, as he seeks to claim all three points against debutants Burundi.
“We want to build on the confidence that we got from winning our second game. When you go into the third group game, as the coaching staff, we start looking at who we want to play, who should rest,” Waldrum said.
“Some of our players have played 90 minutes twice already and it is a long tournament. If you are fortunate enough to make it through six games, we have to be mindful so these are some of the challenges that we have. So we have to try and find that balance.”
Waldrum, whose side has three points from two games, says he has been impressed with the team’s huge depth of talents and expects more against the Burundians.
“No doubt, we have a lot of great talents in the squad. In the last game against Botswana, we saw Christy Ucheibe coming in to make a lot of difference,” Walrum added.
“We do have a lot of options, Gift Monday also did brilliantly, and so was Macleans, Otu, and the rest. All the players in the team are capable of starting, and subsequently, they would get time to play more.”
While the Super Falcons are seeking a record-extending 10th WAFCON title in Morocco, the Swallows of Burundi are only making a first appearance at the continental showpiece but it hasn’t been a pleasant experience so far.
In their first game, the Swallows were beaten 4-2 by another debutant, Botswana, before losing 3-1 to South Africa.
Even though no one is giving them any chance against Nigeria, the Burundi Ladies are hoping against hope to cause an upset against the Super Falcons.
“We are going to play against a very experienced team at the WAFCON. We want to go into this game to correct our past mistakes in the two games that we have played so far and we hope to do well,” Falonne Nahimana, one of the key players in the Burundi team said in an interview.
“I am very grateful to the federation for giving me the opportunity to play for the Burundian team and tomorrow’s match is a match of my dreams to play against a great team like Nigeria is a great opportunity. For us as players, we need to go and fight as a team and do it with respect for our country.”
Sunday’s fixture will be played at the same time (9 p.m.) as South Africa vs Botswana with two places in the quarterfinals up for grabs for Nigeria, Botswana and Burundi.
The Super Falcons look destined for a second-place finish in Group C and would be up against the second-best team in Group B which houses Cameroon, Tunisia, Togo and Zambia in the quarter-final.