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Nkwocha, Waldrum, Banyana coach excited about Aisha Buhari Cup

FORMER Super Falcons striker Perpetua Nkwocha believes the Aisha Buhari Invitational Women’s Tournament (Aisha Buhari Cup) is a step in the right direction in the quest for girl-child development.

The tournament will be played in Lagos in September with the senior women’s national teams of Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Cameroon, Morocco and Mali taking part.

“I want to appreciate everyone that brought this initiative that will give hope and encouragement to women and the girl-child,” four-time African Player of the Year Nkwocha said after the draw in Lagos.

“Aisha Buhari Cup is a great step in the right direction and it’s a good development for football in Nigeria and Africa.

“It’s a major step to promote and inspire lots of women footballers and particularly the girl-child. The tournament is important because it will bring hope and inspiration to girl child, enabling them to follow their passion for football and live their football dreams. I want to sincerely show my total support for this tournament and I wish all the participants good luck.”

Super Falcons head coach Randy Waldrum expressed his excitement at the opportunity to test his players against Africa’s top teams at the Aisha Buhari Cup.

“Regarding the draw for the Aisha Buhari Cup that has just been done, we are excited about the tournament,” the American said after his team was drawn against Morocco and Mali in Group A of the six-nation tournament.

“It is another opportunity to get the players together. Six of the top teams in the continent; it is going to be a great tournament.

“It is an opportunity to prepare for some big qualifiers that we have ahead. And the fans will be looking forward as well to the Falcons having a great tournament right at their backyard.

“Of course, we know the quality of the teams: South Africa, Ghana, Cameroon. Morocco’s got a new coach. They are also shaping up well. I know the competition will be very, very good for us.

“Regarding the draw, I think we have to be careful. Nigeria is the team the whole of Africa wants to beat. We have to prepare for every match and be ready. I want to thank all the people responsible for putting this tournament together and I am so looking forward to it.”

South Africa head coach Desiree Ellis is looking forward to the tournament despite a tough draw that pitted her side against Ghana and Cameroon.

“Our (Aisha Buhari Cup) draw was difficult. It’s not as easy as it seems,” the former Banyana Banyana star said.

“Ghana has been a powerhouse as well as Cameroon in African football. We cannot take any of the team lightly.

“We’ve always wanted more women’s football competitions on the continent and this will be a mini Women’s Africa Cup of Nations. I think this is a start of great things to come for women’s football in Africa.

“Six top countries and we couldn’t have asked for anything more. We want to thank Nigeria’s First Lady (Dr Aisha Buhari) for the fantastic initiative.

“Next time, it can be much bigger and also rival big tournaments worldwide. It’s a great initiative and we’re very happy to be part of it.”

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Naija Times