Rita Chikwelu led the Super Falcons to AWCON glory two years ago in Cameroon and the experienced midfielder with Swedish side Krstianstand DFF is relishing the prospect of going all the way yet again. Below are excerpts of her interview with CAFOnline.com;
CAFOnline.com: You were the captain when the Super Falcons won the 2016 AWCON trophy in Cameroon, what will be the focus of the team in Ghana?
Rita Chikwelu: Our priority first and foremost is to qualify for the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup in France. We have won the AWCON title several times and we are still very positive going to the championship in Ghana.
How do you fancy your chances against Kenya, Zambia and South Africa in Group B?
I think every country wants to do well, so I don't think it's going to be easy for us because they will all come well prepared to play against us. We played Kenya about two years ago and they were very good. Of course, we know the quality of South Africa and I also think Zambia will like to show what they can do. We just have to be focussed.
After beating South Africa in the semi-finals in 2016, are you not scared they would be coming to avenge that particular defeat when you meet on 18 November 2018 in Cape Coast?
We know that South Africa have played a lot of friendly matches coming for this AWCON but we remain positive and confident in our own abilities too. The championship for us is not about playing against South Africa, we are going to take it one match at a time.
How does it feel to be captain of this talented group with a lot of big players?
We are one big family in the Super Falcons and there's no difference between young and old players. We live together like friends and members of the same family; and the unity in the team is one of the secrets of our success.
How tough is it working under Coach Thomas Dennerby?
We have learnt and we are still learning many things from him. He's from Sweden and I play for Krstianstand in Sweden, so I perfectly understand what he wants from us. We are all coping nicely with his style and it showed in the way we played against Gambia in our qualifying match. It has been a great experience working with coach Dennerby.
What would be a wonderful championship for Super Falcons in Ghana?
We want to qualify for the FIFA Women's World Cup because we believe we should be out there playing against the best teams in the world. Personally, it is my wish to see the Super Falcons reach the semi-finals at the FIFA Women's World Cup and Ghana 2018 is an opportunity for us to show what we are capable of doing. We want Nigerians to pray for us so that we can get to the World Cup as well as the AWCON trophy.
Source: Confederation Africaine de Football