- Face hosts AS FAR Rabat in the semifinal
- Falode hails team’s achievement
Bayelsa Queens have a date with history in the second edition of the CAF Women’s Champions League, as they face AS FAR Rabat in the second semifinal of the competition today, APROKOVIBES Sports Extra reports.
The Prosperity Girls have already set a Nigerian record after scaling the hurdles of the group stage.
To advance, the Prosperity Girls finished second in Group B behind Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies, with 6 points from three matches.
The only game they lost was their first group encounter against the South Africans, and they followed it up with two impressive wins against TP Mazembe of Congo and Wadi Degla of Egypt.
In what is their debut campaign on the continent, Bayelsa Queens are now two matches away from glory, but as they get closer, they must focus on the immediate task, which is to secure victory against AS FAR Rabat today.
Head coach of the team, Domo Okara certainly understands the nature of the assignment and wants to take it one step at a time.
“We will approach the game with more than 100% seriousness and we will pressurize them when it’s necessary, we come back to our system and try to keep the ball, so that we will have more chances and deny them time and space to play . The more we hold the ball the better for us,” Okara told APROKOVIBES Sports Extra.
Their semifinal opponents, AS FAR Rabat are also contenders. The hosts finished third at the maiden edition in 2021.
They finished top of Group A with 9 points, winning all three of the matches, scoring 5 goals and conceding one.
Bayelsa Queens scored 6 goals and also conceded one in the group stage.
AS FAR Rabat handler, Mohammed Amine Alioua is looking forward to an exciting match against Bayelsa Queens.
Even if there’s no history or proven gulf in class between them and the Nigerians, they most definitely will enjoy massive support from the home crowd as the game will be played in Rabat.
If previous intimidations in North Africa is anything to go by, then there’s something for Okara and his girls to worry about.
“Playing against the hosts; we already know they will be hostile, it is their usual style. But I don’t think it will work against us, it is 11 against 11, so whether you have support or not, the supporters will not come to the field and play. So, if we are able to get our acts right and play to our system, we will not have any problem. I know it will be difficult, but we hope to pull through,” Okara said.
Back home, thousands of Bayelsa Queens fans are unable to make the trip to Morocco, but their support will ring loud and travel through the seas, as they hope to watch their darling team all the way.
In the rank of the Nigeria Women Football League, nothing feels better than seeing the Nigerian champions take the continent by storm.
NWFL boss, Aisha Falode is confident that Bayelsa Queens will weather the storm against the hosts.
“For Bayelsa Queens to get to this stage of the CAF Women’s Champions League, it’s an achievement in itself. They haven’t had it easy, playing their first game against defending Champions, and took the next two games convincingly.
“Now they are at the most critical stage of the comepetition and playing against the hosts, AS FAR. That means this is crucial to advancing to the final.
“I’m very impressed with the team, it goes to show that women’s football in Africa is thriving and the NWFL saw the direction football was going to take for women, and we are glad we are in tune with trends.” Falode told APROKOVIBES Sports Extra.
By getting to this stage of the competition, Bayelsa Queens are sure of getting $200,000 in prize money from the organisers.
The cash prize will be more if they go all the way to into the final or even win, and the Bayelsa State government also sees the need to give the team enough motivation ahead of the semifinal showdown against AS FAR Rabat.
The state’s commissioner for Sports, Daniel Igali, led support for the team from the stands in their last group game against Wadi Degla, and the party will get bigger, with the arrival of the state Deputy Governor, Lawrence Oborawharievwo for the semifinal showdown.
The governor and the deputy governor spoke to us in our prevision matches and we have the commissioner with us and the deputy governor is also going to be wit us in the semifinal. So, it’s a big motivation from the government and we will try our best not to disappoint them,” Okara added.
The match will kick off by 8pm Nigerian time.