Ghana striker Suleman on Awcon 2018 ambitions and tournament opener against Algeria

Exclusive: The centre-forward talks about the Black Queens' objectives for the elite showpiece and addresses their perceived fear for rivals Nigeria

Ghana striker Samira Suleman is looking to lead Ghana to their first continental title at the 2018 Africa Women Cup of Nations on home soil.

The Black Queens are hoping to go one step further this time around, having finished second in 1998, 2002 and 2006.

This year’s event provides, perhaps, their brightest opportunity due to their host status.

“A lot runs through my mind realizing that it’s just two days to the tournament – excitement, anxiety – a whole lot of things,” Suleman told Goal after Thursday’s training session in Accra.

“Getting to know that we have an opportunity to host a big tournament like this that brings seven other African countries to Ghana is exciting.”

Ghana FA’s recent corruption scandal essentially stalled all football related activities in the country, including the Black Queens’ preparations.

The Iceland-based centre-forward, however, insists they are ready for the battle ahead.

“We’re hundred per cent prepared for the tournament. Although I joined the team just two weeks ago, they started camping in August,” the Afturelding FC striker said.

“And when I joined the team, looking at the preparation so far, I think we’re 100% prepared.”

She then spoke on Saturday’s tournament opener against Algeria, a match that will herald two other Group A fixtures against Mali and Cameroon.

“We want to win the game against Algeria to boost our morale for the next two group games because when you’re starting a tournament and you start with a win, it’s very important,” the 27-year-old opined.

“It’s good for your confidence and it boosts your morale for the next games, so I think the first game is very important in every tournament.”

There is more than gold up for grabs in Ghana as the top three teams from the tournament will secure qualification tickets for the 2019 Fifa Women’s World Cup in France.

“For us the players, our main goal is to win the trophy and qualify for the World Cup,” Suleman explained.

Each of Ghana’s final defeats in the past were to the same opponent – Nigeria. It is only natural that many hold some fear for the Super Falcons, who have won eight of 10 Awcons organized thus far.

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[We’re not afraid of Nigeria]. Never!” Suleman stated.

“I started playing against them from youth tournaments and they graduated to this stage. So have I graduated to this stage too, so I can never be afraid of them.”

Suleman scored twice as Ghana finished third at the 2016 Awcon in Cameroon.