Sports News of Saturday, 20 October 2018
Coach Bashir Hayford says the Black Queens are ready for any opponent to be drawn against them in tomorrow’s ballot for the 2018 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).
The eight teams who have qualified for the competition will know their fate when the draw for the 11th edition of the Women’s AFCON is held at the Kempinski Hotel at 7:00p.m on Sunday.
The host nation and defending champions, Nigeria, to be seeded in Pot One, will not clash at the group stage, but could meet in the subsequent rounds depending on how their group campaign goes.
However, Ghana could be in the same group alongside Cameroun, South Africa, Mali, Kenya, Algeria and Zambia who have all qualified for the competition.
Aware of the stakes, Coach Hayford said it did not matter who his Queens were drawn against as that would not change their dream of hosting to win.
He told the Daily Graphic in an interview: “We are waiting to find out who we will be drawn against, but really we are not keen on avoiding anyone. The focus is to win and get to the final and claim the title and that means being prepared for anyone. If we avoid a team at the group stage, we could still meet at the next round.
“Rather, my focus now is how to get my team completely ready for the challenge. If we are drawn up against a perceived novice, but we don’t get our preparations right, we could not realise our dream.
“Of course, knowing who you play at the group stages also help with strategising for the games. We saw a lot of that during the 2018 World Cup in Russia. That is not bad so long as the strategy comes up with good results,” Coach Hayford stressed.
He said no side could be taken for granted as they had all qualified on merit and that with the stakes of claiming the title as well as grabbing one of the three tickets to the 2019 Women’s World Cup (WWC), every side would come well prepared.
Coach Hayford also indicated that the expected arrival of the foreign-based players this week was good news as it would help the team to step up their preparations.
“We are eagerly awaiting the arrival of the foreign-based players. The players in camp have responded well to the training schedule but it’s time to get the team to be cohesive. We need to know what they also bring on board so we can have alternatives,” he explained.
Pot 1: Ghana, Nigeria
Pot Two: Cameroun, South Africa
Pot Three: Kenya, Mali, Algeria, Zambia