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Nigeria battle for women's title

By Oluwashina Okeleji
BBC Sport

Perpetua Nkwocha
Nigeria's Perpetua Nkwocha is hoping for success in the semi-final

Nigeria's quest for a sixth straight African Women's Championship title is looking anything but perfect in Equatorial Guinea.

They face the hosts in the first semi-final on Tuesday in what should be an explosive encounter.

Cameroon play South Africa in the other encounter.

Unlike their illustrious opponents, the hosts hit the ground running beating Cameroon 1-0 in the opening match and went on to beat Congo 5-2 and Mali 2-1.

The Super Falcons on the other hand got off to a shaky start with a 1-1 draw with great rivals Ghana.

and they were then held to a goalless draw by a vastly improved Tunisian side.

Only a slim 1-0 victory against South Africa in their final group game saved Nigeria an early exit from a championship they have won every time it has been held.

Veteran star Perpetua Nkwocha told the BBC that organisation has been a problem in Equatorial Guinea.

"The training pitch and stadium where we played our group games are not even good enough for secondary school games," she said.

"It has been impossible for us to play our normal game and mentally it seems everyone here is determined to stop Nigeria by all means."

Despite beating Equatorial Guinea 4-2 two years ago in the last Women's Championship, Nkwocha admitted that their semi-final clash against the hosts on Tuesday will be very difficult.

"They have four Nigerians and two Brazilians in their team which makes them a stronger force than they were two years ago," she told BBC Sport.

"The fans will create an electrifying atmosphere while the players will be encouraged to come at us.

"But we are more experienced and should handle them well in the end."

There is really nothing to separate both sides in the other semi-final match between South Africa and Cameroon.

Despite losing their last group game to Nigeria, South Africa had already qualified for the last four thanks to wins over Tunisia and the highly-rated Black Queens of Ghana

Cameroon bounced back from a shocking opening loss to Equatorial Guinea by beating Mali 2-1 and Congo 1-0 to book their place against the Banyana Banyana.

Cameroon have twice finished runners-up in the tournament, in 1991 and 2004.

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see also
Akide-Udoh ready for comeback
30 Sep 08 |  African
Super Falcons to take on Ghana
27 Sep 08 |  African

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