Sworn rivals, Nigeria and South Africa again clash today in women’s football as CAF President owned South African outfit, Mamelodi Sundown face Bayelsa Queens in a Group B match of the African Women’s Championship match in Marrakech, Morocco.
South Africa’s Mamelodi Sundowns are the defending champions. In recent time, matches in women’s football have seen the South Africans having the edge over Nigeria.
The latest was the Falcons versus Bayana Bayana duel in Morocco earlier this year in the CAF Women’s Cup of Nations.
Bayelsa Queens are debutants in the competition that has just entered its second edition. But owing to Nigeria’s stature in women’s football, today’s match is seen as a kind of early final.
Bayelsa Queen’s captain, Uzoamaka Igwe already knows the enornimity of the clash.
She told CAF media: “I know is not going to be easy. Mamelodi Sundowns are here as the champions and will give us a difficult match but we have prepared well and trained hard to do well in the tournament.”
Her statememnt is underlined by the determination of the defending champions.
Jerry Tshabalala, their coach remarked: “When we came year last year, the idea was for us to win the championship, we are back again, and want to defend our title.
“We’ve won our [South African ]league three times in a row, and we hope to be the first team to win the Women’s Champions League title back-to-back. Against Bayelsa Queens, we understand the challenge that we will face and also know what to expect.”
The defending champions are however not taking things for granted. “Playing against a Nigerian club like Bayelsa Queens is going to be tough but we are not coming to underestimate any team in this competition” remarked Lelona Daweti, striker of Mamelodi Sundowns.
” We are trusting ourselves and our coaches. So, we will come out to do our best, and play our good football as Mamelodi Sundowns and the rest will follow.
Among the players listed by Bayelsa Queen is Edidiong Etim, scorer of Nigeria’s second goal in the six-goal thriller with Germany in Sunday’s third place match at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in India.
It is doubtful, if she will be availaible for tonight’s potential thriller with the South Africans.