Following the draw of the Total Women Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers conducted in Cairo, CAFOnline.com asked Sierra Leone Coach Abdulai Bah how he received the draw outcome and is his side ready to compete amongst others.
CAFOnline.com: What came into your mind after the draw?
Abdulai Bah: A lot, but topmost was much delight on the draw outcome, which to me meant more work. At a time like this my quest is immense to offer my best charges with the players, and to represent our country well at every stage of women’s football.
Your opponent, Gambia are among the best in the continent, how do you plan to approach them?
As much that I’ve enough respect for the Gambians, I don’t fear them either. Every team wants to win every game, and to win both players and coaches adopt tactics and teamwork which will exactly be my approach.
Sierra Leone had three consecutive draws and a 3-1 loss under your charge. What lessons have you learnt?
So much has been learnt and as a technical team appointed about a year ago, our major focus has been centered on getting the right players to represent the country. That is why we’ve been scrambling to win games but at least we’ve been able to make some progress based on the team’s performance during the 2020 WAFU – A Women’s tournament at home. We held Cape Verde, Guinea and the tournament’s champions Senegal to three consecutive draws in our first outing with the team which had not been competing for almost a decade. That was commendable for us and I’m sure if the football federation can organize national women championships and the home supporters show 50-percent of the support they give to men’s football, then the ladies will be inspired more to deliver their best for the nation at every level.
Sierra Leone pulled out of the 2014 qualifiers. Do you think you are ready to return to compete alongside 44 other nations?
That was somehow painful but at the time. To compete we have to be prepared well. Football needs regular training and consistent leagues to keep the players engaged and fit but that was totally absent. The situation is changing now though slowly, but the mending process has begun to help us as football loving nation to beat some of the negativities that have held us back.
As a nation wanting to showcase our players’ skills, we’re ready to upset our opponents and compete. We invited a pool of players nationwide for trials in Freetown to select the best that will back up our latest WAFU squad ahead of our anticipated encounter against Gambia in the first round of qualifiers.