Coach Hassan Balla says he will use the Central African Football Federations’ Union (UNIFFAC) U-20 women’s zonal competition as rehearsal ahead of Cameroon’s world cup debut – in that category, in August, later this year.
Cameroon are pitted against the Central African Republic (CAR) for the UNIFFAC curtain raiser in the Bepanda Omnisport Annex stadium, 15:30 local time.
Time stood still for over a month after the indefinite postponement of the zonal competition due to the AFCON, but three teams: Congo, CAR and Cameroon are finally set to kick-start on February 13th.
“This competition is a blessing”, Hassan Balla
Hassan Balla, 3-times Cameroon women’s premier division winner with AS AWA, voiced in his pre match press conference that the UNIFFAC could not come at a better time.
“This competition is a blessing. In my programme, we needed these sort of friendlies, given that we are still observing 50-60 players”.
Coach Hassan Balla has not closed the national team doors on skilled, teenage-ladies, who are still improving in performances;
“The UNIFFAC is a chance to give other players game time. The list is not closed, that is why we play these games. I hope that after this competition, we find more friendlies”.
The UNIFFAC under-20 women’s zonal tourney regains center stage after 3 years of absence with some quality fixtures on the card.
Albeit Cameroon’s qualifications for the 2024 U20 women’s world cup, some standout players left the team as graduates; to the senior women’s national team, and some, in search of greener pastures.
However, Balla believes more in team work than individual talent, as he told reporters.
“I have worked with over 35 players from the onset. In football, we do not have to over rely on one person. There are over 10 players who are not present. However, it is the same project and game style. If things do not work out, it is because the team didn’t play well. We cannot say it is because a player wasn’t involved.”
Hassan Balla on Cameroon’s world cup qualifiers scare
Cameroon went through three stages before getting a slot at the women’s U20 World cup. The gaffer recounts that his objective was to win all games, before Egypt nearly posed a threat having taken an early lead in the game which ended one-all in Cameroon.
“Egypt came to that final qualifiers game and we played just about for 60 minutes, if you (reporters); ‘editor’s note’ watched. They spent time going to ground easily – so it was complicated,” Hassan reminisced ahead of the central Africa Republic game.
Of all the nations present at this year’s UNIFFAC event, Cameroon has been tipped to play a front-runners role. Here is what he had to say on that topic:
“There is no small team in football. We travelled and saw how some of these teams prepare. The Central African Republic (CAR) makes up part of the teams with a serious project.”
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