Joseph Brian Ndoko (Head Coach, Cameroon)
We had ambitions of making it to the finals of this tournament from the onset but unfortunately we couldn’t make it. I must admit that it was a tough and a difficult moment for us. We are here in Cape Coast and the climate is different from that of Accra. Since we are here already we need to adjust and be able to going into the 3rd place play-off.
As I earlier indicated it was very tough and difficult to lose to Nigeria in the semi-finals. We didn’t see it coming at the end of the tournament. We couldn’t make good use of the opportunities we had. Right now we have to quickly adapt to our new target of qualifying to the World Cup. Our initial target was to win the trophy. The crying time is over. We need to get to the next stage so the girls have been conscientize what is ahead of us and I think the outcome will be decided on the field.
We are not expecting too much. We just want to see a well elaborated game tomorrow and we wait until the 90 minutes. Because until after the final whistle we can’t really tell much. We score quick goals but it might also change in the course of the game or afterwards.
Ajara Nchout Njoya (Forward, Cameroon)
It is true and real we came into the competition with great ambitions. One was to be able to clinch the trophy but very unfortunately we couldn’t achieve that. We have another match ahead of us which might give us the opportunity to secure a place in the World Cup next year in France. Achieving this will make us proud so we are going to fight till the end of the game.
It wasn’t easy losing the semi-finals to Nigeria since we wanted to win the ultimate. The people of Cameroon believed us that’s why I was crying after the game. It was so painful. It’s not going to be easy against Mali tomorrow because they are also preparing for this game but I believe in our team. I believe in the efforts we will showcase and I am sure is going to be a new chapter for us.
When we decide to fight for the country we have to understand this is sport and anything can happen. When we are attacked and insulted for losing a game, we ask ourselves many questions which destruct our attention. It is not the best of practice. People must understand that in sports anything can happen.
Mohamed Saloum Houssein (Head Coach, Mali)
The tournament is gradually coming to an end and there is third place to fight for. Right after the game against South Africa we mobilized and reorganized ourselves. We conscientized ourselves for the game against Cameroon. We know what is at stake so we started preparing hard immediately after the South African fixture.
Of course, we very optimistic for this game. When we played against Cameroon in the group stage we all saw what happened. We lost 2-1 and learned lessons from it. We have identified the mistakes in the defence and we are working towards in order to gain more strength there. I have to make it clear that the group stage game is different from this particular one (3rd place play-off). They are not the same. We have seen improvements in both teams so we wait for the pitch to decide the winner.
Mali’s main objective was to make it to the next round of the tournament (semi-finals) which has never happened in history. We are satisfied because we have been to inscribe our names in the record books. We want to do more and if the women are first to make it to the World Cup ahead of the men, then that’s a plus for us. We will then fight till the end of the tournament because we are optimistic anything can happen.
Goundo Samake (Goalkeeper, Mali)
After the match against South Africa, we came together as a team and regrouped for the task ahead of us. We chalked history by advancing to the semi-finals for the first time. We will also love to go far as possible and that’s qualifying for the World Cup. So we are getting prepared for this match.
In 2016 and 2018 we have seen a lot of difference, we have seen changes and progress. We have come this far and have come together as a unit to work. We hope that all that we have learned here be the coach and the technical staff will be of great help in the next edition of the tournament in Congo in two years time.
They should continue to support us as they have been doing from the beginning of the tournament. The initial goal was to make it to the semi-finals which we achieved. The next is to make it to World Cup. Since the tournament is not over yet we will fight till the last second.