“Nigeria is the favorite” – Morocco’s head coach expects tough Super Falcons challenge in the ABC

It’s hours before the inaugural edition of the Aisha Buhari Cup, and the chief tactician of the Atlas Lionesses is wary of facing the most successful African women football team

Head coach of the Morocco national women team Reynald Pedros believes that Nigeria’s Super Falcons are the favourites to make it out of Group A and go all the way to lift the Aisha Buhari Cup.

The Aisha Buhari Cup, ABC, is a FIFA-rated invitational tournament scheduled to run from September 15 to 21, with six of the continent’s best national teams taking part.

Nigeria are the favourites to make it out of a Group A that also has Mali’s Eagles and Morocco’s Lionesses. Powerhouses Cameroon’s Indomitable Lionesses, South Africa’s Banyana Banyana, and Ghana’s Black Queens will split it out for the two semifinals tickets in Group B.

But nine-time African champions, Falcons, have never lost in eight previous matches against Mali in all competitions and have not faced the North African Ladies in recent times.

Morocco, however, have a slight mental edge over Mali, as they defeated the West Africans 3-2 in a friendly encounter in mid-June.

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And Pedros is convinced that his Ladies stand a chance at impressing at the tournament, should the Super Falcons falter.

“We are in the group of Mali and Nigeria,” the tactician told Cafonline.

“Of course, Nigeria is the favorite. After all, a football match is always unpredictable. We will do our best to be the best we can, to win our games. But we will always be at work. It is important. It will also allow us to see our opponents.

“We have already played against Mali, we will discover Nigeria, we will see the other nations of group B. So, it is a group that is bearable for us because we will do what is necessary to try to finish in the first two.”

Morocco host the next edition of the African Women Championship next year and plan to use the Aisha Buhari tournament to gauge their preparations.

And coach Pedros is grateful to the wife of the Nigerian President, Mrs. Buhari, for organising the ABC and has called for the tournament to be a yearly event.

He added: “This is indeed the first edition of the tournament, and we thank the first lady for inviting us. Which means that we are one of the best African teams, so we will do everything on the ground to show that our place is here and in our behavior too.

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“I think it’s going to be a tournament that will have to be renewed. When we have all the best African teams, there is quality, and in any case, we will do our best to promote Morocco, to go as far as possible too, because we have ambitions,” Pedros concluded.