Hosts Cameroon and record holders Nigeria go head to head in today’s final for the African women’s title at the Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo .
After two weeks of fantastic football, the final two teams standing will slug it out for who will be crowned the Queens of African football.
The match promises to be a pulsating encounter between two traditional rivals who always go at each other irrespective of the level of football being played.
HOSTS – CAMEROON
Hosts Cameroon will be looking for their inaugural African title when they take on record seven-time champions Nigeria in the Africa Women’s Cup of Nations final on Saturday at the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium in Yaounde.
The Indomitable Lionesses are the only side that is yet to concede a goal at the continental competition and scored five goals in three games to amass nine points from three Group A matches before edging Ghana 1-0 in the semi-final.
Enow Ngachu’s outfit have done an incredible job to impose their dominance backed by a determined and vehement home crowd that will be looking to back their side against a seasoned opponent.
The Indomitable Lionesses have grown by leaps and bounds in each match and the final could not have come at a much better time than this.
Journey to the final
Cameroon 2-0 Egypt (Gabrielle Ouegene Aboudi, Christine Manie)
Cameroon 1-0 South Africa (Genevieve Mbeleck Ngo)
Zimbabwe 0-2 Cameroon (Michelle Henriette, Ado Akaba brace)
Cameroon 1-0 Ghana (Raissa Feudjio)
Ngachu has no injury worries ahead of the final and will be looking to dependable forward Gaëlle Enganamouit to end her goalless drought at the tournament so far.
The reigning Caf African Female Player of the Year is yet to find the back of the net but has played a formidable role in Cameroon’s attack, most notably providing an assist for Akaba’s goal against Zimbabwe in their last Group A tie.
Players to watch
The Romania-based forward, who wears the captain’s armband, plays an important role at the heart of the Indomitable Lionesses’ defence with the ability to execute good tackles and game reading.
Her commitment and ability to focus under pressure at all times have inspired her side to four clean sheets in all their four games at this tournament. She also commands respect in the air on both offence and defence and is the number one choice penalty taker for the Indomitable Lionesses. She scored in their opener, a 2-0 win over Zimbabwe.
As the face of the Indomitable Lionesses, Enganamouit, who is the reigning Caf African Female Player of the Year, is one whose individual brilliance is worthy to note.
Her pace and dribbling skills provide a cutting edge against even the best defenders in the business and her experience and exposure present an aura of confidence in the dressing room ahead of their biggest challenge at this competition.
The Russia-based forward is the ultimate playmaker for the home side with her defence-splitting passes, a worry for any opponent if they are to curb the Cameroonian offence.
Her combination with Enganamouit and Michelle Henriette Akaba is one that will truly ask questions of the Super Falcons defence on Saturday.
What they said
“When we were in Namibia two years ago, the goal was to qualify for the World Cup in Canada. After achieving the qualification, it made the players lose some level of concentration for the final. On Saturday, our goal is to win the gold medal. The poster is certainly the same as in Namibia, but the stakes are different. We beat Nigeria at the African Games in 2015 (In Brazzaville, Congo) and that was our last meeting. As a coach, I have always been positive. But be assured that we have abilities to react if we cash in first. We have demonstrated that we can score and provide a lot of opportunities. You also have to be wary of a team that defends well. The team that will be cool and physical will make the difference and I think we have the upper hand in that.”
Enow Ngachu (Head Coach, Cameroon)
Probable line-up Cameroon v Nigeria
Goalkeeper: Annette Ngo Ndom (FAP Yaounde)
Defenders: Sonkeng Ysis (Louves-Yaoundé), Marie Awona (ASJ Soyaux), Christine Manie (Cluj-Romania), Falone Meffometou, (Arras, France)
Midfielders: Feudjio Raissa, (Aland United-Finland), Agathe Ngani (FC Lorient), Nchout Njoya Ajara (Kansli, Sweden)
Forwards: Gabrielle Aboudi Onguene (Rossyanka-Russia), Gaelle Enganamouit (FC Rosengard-Sweden), Henriette Michel Edoa Akaba (Trabzonsport-Turkey)
Goalkeepers: Ngo Ndom Annette (FAP Yaounde), Mbororo Tehcle (Panthere Security Garoua, Cameroon), Isabelle Mambigo Mambingo (FAP Yaounde)
Defenders: Sonkeng Ysis (Louves-Yaounde), Marie Awona (ASJ Soyaux), Christine Manie (Cluj, Romania), Falone Meffometou, (Arras, France), Yvonne Leuko (Arras, France)
Midfielders: Raissa Feudjio, (Aland United, Finland), Agathe Ngani (FC Lorient), Nchout Njoya Ajara (Kansli, Sweden), Ejangue Siliki (Fortuna, Denmark), Batoum Back Ngo (Louves Yaounde), Genevieve Ngo Mbeleck (Belarus)
Forwards: Gabrielle Aboudi Onguene (Rossyanka, Russia), Gaelle Enganamouit (FC Rosengard, Sweden), Henriette Michel Edoa Akaba (Trabzonsport, Turkey), Grace Yango Ngock (Stade Brestois, France), Michelle Mani Ngono (France), Marie Claire Agnes Nkada (FC Lorient), Jacquette Ada (Besiktas, Turkey)
HOLDERS – NIGERIA
Reigning champions Nigeria will go in search of a record eighth title (in this format) as they face hosts Cameroon in the final of the 2016 Africa Women’s Cup of Nations.
The Super Falcons will face a stern test against the Indomitable Lionesses in their fortress in Yaounde and will need to pull out all the stops if they are to cart home the coveted trophy.
Cameroon are slight odds-on favourites to lift the trophy and are backed by a strong vociferous crowd at the Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo in Yaounde.
Both sides have arguably been the best in the tournament and will fittingly meet in the final that promises to be full of fireworks.
Coached by Florence Omagbemi, Nigeria started the tournament with a 6-0 hiding of Mali which signalled their intentions but it all went flat when they put in an insipid display against the Black Queens of Ghana.
That game ended in a 1-1 draw.
Some sunshine came into the Nigeria camp when the Super Falcons cleaned out Kenya 4-0 to top Group B and set up a clash with Banyana Banyana of South Africa.
Nigeria prevailed through a solitary Desire Oparanozie goal to book a ticket to the final to face hosts Cameroon.
Journey to the final
Nigeria 6 (Ordega, Oshoala (4) Sunday) Mali 0
Ghana 1 (Addo) Nigeria 1 (Oshoala)
Nigeria 4 (Okobi, Ikidi, Oshoala, Oparanozie) Kenya 0
Nigeria 1 (Oparanozie) South Africa 0
Nigeria have no injury worries as Desire Oparanozie is fully fit and started the last two games against Kenya and South Africa.
Goalkeeper Alaba Jonathan is also okay despite initial fears she received a knock in the semi-final against South Africa.
Nigeria coach Florence Omagbemi has a full complement of players to choose from.
Players to watch
The Arsenal Ladies striker is the poster girl of the Nigeria squad having come through the youth ranks. She is pacy, full of tricks and has a keen eye for goal.
She is the tournament’s top scorer so far having netted in each of Nigeria group games. She hauled in four goals against a struggling Mali in the first group game. She will look to add to her tally in the final against Cameroon and lead her country to yet another title.
The striker is in blazing hot form after shaking off her injury worries that saw her sit out the first two games in the tournament. The Evant de Guingamp striker has scored in the last two games against Kenya and South Africa.
She is built like a tank and has great strength which she uses to her advantage. The game against Cameroon will suit her style and she will relish the chance to go against a stubborn Cameroon defence.
Nigeria probable starters v Cameroon
Alaba Jonathan, Desire Oparanozie, Ugo Njoku, Faith Ikidi, Onome Ebi, Osinachi Ohale, Ebere Ngozi, Rita Chikwelu, Ngozi Okobi, Francisca Ordega, Asisat Oshoala,
Goalkeepers: Alaba Jonathan (Bayelsa Queens), Ibubeleye Whyte (Rivers Angels), Rita Akarekor (Delta Queens)
Defenders: Osinachi Ohale (Rivers Angels), Ikidi (Pitea IF), Gladys Akpa (Rivers Angels), Onome Ebi (Minsk, Belarus), Ugo Njoku (Rivers Angels), Ebere Ngozi (PSG, France)
Midfielders: Osas Igbinovia (Bayelsa), Rita Chikwelu (Umea, Sweden), Ngozi Okobi (Vittsjo), Halimatu Ayinde (Minsk, Belarus), Glory Iroka (Rivers Angels)
Forwards: Oparanozie (Guingamp, France), Oshoala (Arsenal, England), Chioma Wogu (Rivers Angels), Ordega (Washington Spirit,USA), Uchechi Sunday (Icheon Diakyo, South Korea), Ijeoma Obi (Sunshine Queens), Esther Sunday (Belediyespor, Turkey)
This will be the third time Nigeria and Cameroon are meeting in the finals with Nigeria winning the previous two.
The game will be live on SuperSport. at 4.15pm (CAT) or 3.15pm (WAT).