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August, 22 2021

Aisha Buhari Cup: Okon insists there are no underdogs

Former Nigerian manager and Head Coach of NWFL Premiership side, Rivers Angels, Edwin Okon has voiced his conviction that there are no more pushovers in modern day football, saying the same obtains for the upcoming Aisha Buhari Invitational Women’s Football Tournament.

Describing the Aisha Buhari Cup as a most laudable project in the land in recent times, Okon opined that team selection in favour of the domestic players will give the tournament its biggest catch.

“Every team prepares well for this kind of tournament. It will be wrong for us to consider Mali to be a pushover, I do not think so, and nobody should go to sleep because Mali is on the table. Morocco is a country we do not know much about and for a team you do not know it becomes risky to sleep in one’s preparation; we must give adequate and due respect to all our opponents.

“For us we need players who will be ready to die on the field of play defending the honour and name of the country and the reason I will canvass for increased presence of the NWFL products in our team selection.

“Aisha Buhari Cup is a very good development; the biggest thing that’s happening to women football in Nigeria and Africa. I wholeheartedly support its developmental messages and commend the initiators.

“I had one or two conversations with the Ghanaian coach at the recent CAF Women Champions League qualifiers in Abidjan and they are coming in a big way for the tournament. He said they are going to beef up the squad with quality players and that the country’s Vice President is interested in the team. I can tell you for free that the Ghanaian side that will be coming will be a very good one and possibly a hard nut to crack at the tournament,” said Okon.

We'll fight for honours at Aisha Buhari Cup - Houssein, Coach of Mali

Head Coach of Mali Women National Team, Saloum Mohamed Houssein believes his side will have a good outing at the Aisha Buhari Cup tournament holding in the City of Lagos, Nigeria next month.

The Female Eagles will compete in the six-nation tournament organised in honour of the country’s First Lady, Dr (Mrs) Aisha Muhammadu Buhari, with its theme Playing for Good. The nine-day competition will see the Malians slug it out with hosts and reigning African champions Nigeria and Morocco in Group A, with matches scheduled for Mobolaji Johnson Arena, Onikan.

While lauding Dr Aisha Buhari for supporting women's football, the former Mali international is gladdened by his side's chances of testing themselves against powerhouses on the continent. "First of all, I salute the initiative of Nigeria's First Lady, Dr (Mrs) Aisha Buhari and the support towards the girls and women teams that were selected for the tournament," Houssein told ABC Media

"We are very happy to be among the invited countries for a competition that features the best women's teams on the continent. We are less than two months away from the start of the qualifiers for the Women AFCON, so it's a good test for us. We have the ambition to fight for a good result in Lagos, even as our group opponents are Nigeria and Morocco.

In the group stage, the Female Eagles are up against the Super Falcons, who thrashed them 8-0 in 2015 (their biggest ever defeat in history) and Atlas Lionesses that beat them 6-2 on aggregate in a double-header friendly.

The Malians will hope to use the Aisha Buhari Cup as part of preparations for their first-round showdown with Guinea in the 2022 Women Africa Cup of Nations race in October 2021.

PHOTO: Mohamed Houssein

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