Hosts Cameroon and debutants Kenya are both confident they can cope with being in tough groups at the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations.
The Harambee Starlets have been drawn in Group B alongside defending champions Nigeria, Mali and Ghana for the November 19 to December 3 tournament in Yaounde.
“We are not scared of facing Nigeria at all. Yes we are underdogs but they will be more under pressure facing a team they do not know much about,” Kenya captain Ann Oluoch Onyango told BBC Sport.
Speaking about the body size and physical attributes of the Nigerian players, Onyango said what will matter is playing as a team and nothing will scare them.
“We know the secret to tame the West African sides,” she added. “We want to go and impress on our first outing in this tournament.”
Striker Esse Mbeyu Akida, who is one of the leading scorers at the ongoing CECAFA Women’s Championship with five goals, said Kenya, who have been boosted by victory over Algeria in the qualifiers, are motivated to do well in Cameroon.
Kenya coach David Ouma concedes that his team does not have the experience of the West African sides, who even have players featuring in Europe, but he believes they have what it takes to cause some upsets.
“We are simply going to prepare well for the tournament and go without fear of facing any team. Playing the best also brings the best out of a team,” he said.
Cameroon have an equally tough task, having been drawn in Group A with South Africa, Zimbabwe and Egypt.
They will kick off the tournament with the opening match against Egypt.
Cameroon coach Enow Ngachu said, “It is a difficult group but Cameroon is up to the challenge.
“Zimbabwe and South Africa are experienced teams and this makes the group more difficult.
“All the countries that qualified for the Nations Cup have to be respected, they merit their qualification and we have to be very careful.
“If we are psychologically prepared, we are going to come out of the group stage. Our objective is to grab the trophy and to achieve this we must challenge any country. We are second in Africa and it is possible to become first.”