Super Falcons of Nigeria stand-in coach, Justin Madugu and midfielder Toni Payne have promised the team will not underrate Cape Verde when faceoff in a 2024 Women’s Cup of Nations qualifying match.
Nigeria will host Cape Verde in the first leg of the qualifier at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium on Thursday, November 30, 2023.
That match will kickoff by 4pm [ Nigerian time].
The Super falcons will hope to secure a big-win in Abuja to make the return leg in Praia on December 5, a walk in the park.
In seperate pre-match comments with NFF TV, 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.
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.
For Coach Madugu who has led the Falcons post world-cup, Cape Verde are a very good team and so it will be wrong to expect an easy game.
He 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,” Madugu remarked.