Ghana primed to end Nigeria's AWCON dominance - Hayford
Ghana coach Bashir Hayford believes his side are ready to end Nigeria's Africa Women Cup of Nations dominance when the Black Queens host the upcoming biennial showpiece.
The Super Falcons have won 10 of the previous 12 tournaments, with only Equatorial Guinea - two-time winners - able to wrest the title away from Nigeria.
However, Hayford believes that the hosts, who have been defeated by the Falcons in three finals (1998, 2002, 2006), can finally get one over on their rivals.
"In the past, Nigeria completely dominated against us because they could call on players who brought so much experience from playing around the world," Hayford told ESPN.
"Now we are at the level too, able to call on players from different clubs from some different countries.
"That level of exposure makes a real difference and I hope we will see that in our performance in the next two weeks."
The Black Queens will open the 11th edition of the competition against Algeria at the Accra Sports Stadium on Saturday, and Hayford believes that qualification for the Women's World Cup in France next year must be the side's minimum target.
"For us, the objective is to finish in the top three and qualify for the World Cup," Hayford continued.
"It has been a while since we reached the senior women's World Cup, and that is something we really want to take care of." Ghana haven't qualified for the women's World Cup since 2007, and captain Elizabeth Addo is desperate to end the wait.
"A lot of us have progressed through the junior ranks to the senior side and played in the junior World Cup," the midfielder told ESPN, "so for us, qualifying for the main World Cup will be progress.
"Naturally, we want to win the tournament because it would feel very good [to do so] at home, but we can only focus on it one game at a time," she said.
"We have come close many times so there we are not far off at all."
As well as Algeria, Ghana have been pooled alongside Mali and Cameroon in Group A, with all three of their first-round matches set to take place in Accra.