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World Cup 2023 (W): African teams in troubled waters

CAN Féminine
World Cup 2023 (W): African teams in troubled waters

With just one week to go to the Women's World Cup, nothing is going right for the African teams apart from Morocco.Zambia, South Africa and Nigeria are all shaken by crises. These problems could have repercussions on the performance of these teams in Australia and New Zealand.

Zambia's preparations for the Women's World Cup, which runs from 20 July to 20 August in Australia and New Zealand, have been the best yet. Beaten 3-2 by Ireland, the Cooper Queens held off Switzerland 3-3 before claiming a prestigious victory over Germany, ranked 2nd in the FIFA rankings. All of which augurs well for their participation in Australia and New Zealand. Unfortunately, the Zambian national team has been caught up in a sexual assault scandal. And the man involved is none other than the current coach, Bruce Mwape. The coach has been accused of sexual abuse. The Guardian, an English media outlet, dropped the bombshell on Saturday 08 July 2023. The Guardian points out that the accusers are female players.

The President of the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) has broken his silence. Andrew Kamanga stated that the case was in the hands of the police.FIFA is also following the case very closely.At the World Cup, the Zambians share Group C with Japan, Costa Rica and Spain.

South Africa's national team hit by bonus scandal

Reigning African champions South Africa have also been plagued by problems. The players even boycotted the friendly match against Botswana over bonuses. The players deplored the disparity in appearance and results bonuses between the men's and women's teams. Banyana Banyana even took the South African Football Association directly to court. Since then, things have escalated, with a former international even getting involved in the problem, severely criticising SAFA and coach Desiree Ellis. However, the day after their historic triumph at the African Cup of Nations, the president of the federation announced that the Banyana Banyana would receive the same bonuses as their male counterparts."The bonuses for participating in the Women's World Cup are virtually the same as the bonuses for Bafana Bafana (the men's team) at the African Cup of Nations," said South African Football Association spokesman Dominic Chimhavi.

World Cup 2023 (W)-South Africa: players in open conflict with the Federation

Faced with this conflict, Sports Minister Zizi Kodwa decided to play the role of fireman. He met with the country's players' union (SAFPU).The current President of CAF, Patrice Motsepe, also intervened to resolve the pay dispute.To this end, the Motsepe Foundation has put $320,000 (nearly €294,000) on the table. This windfall is to be shared between the 23 players taking part in the Women's World Cup.Federation officials informed the public of this at a press conference in Johannesburg. All seems to be going well for the South Africans, who are currently in Wellington, New Zealand. Banyana Banyana are in Group G with Argentina, Italy and Sweden.

Nigeria coach cries foul

Unlike the South African national team, the Nigerian Football Association has a history of bonus disputes. The Super Falcons and their coach Randy Waldrum have not received any bonuses for a very long time. Every day there are new promises from the Federation.Faced with this situation, the coach of the Super Falcons has stepped up to the plate."Until about 3 weeks ago, they owed me about 14 months' salary, then they decided to pay me 7 months' salary.We have players who haven't been paid since the summer tour 2 years ago in the United States, it's a sketch. I'm not going to keep quiet any longer...In October, each federation received $960,000 from FIFA to prepare for the World Cup. Where is that money? FIFA allows you to have up to 22 members of staff, but we only have 11. We don't have video analysts to analyse our opponents.' The players also threatened to boycott their opening match at the World Cup.

A rumour quickly dismissed by captain Onome Ebi."I have no idea where this boycott is coming from.We've never had any such conversations about it; we're good at training and ready for the World Cup," said the Super Falcons captain in an interview with the Nigeria Football Federation website. Nigeria kick off their World Cup campaign against Canada on 21 July. They will then face Australia on 27 July and Ireland on 31 July.

Morocco, the exception
For the time being, Morocco is the only team spared from these problems. In fact, the Atlas Lionesses have already set foot on Australian soil.The African runners-up have played several friendly matches. And they were rather convincing, with victories over Slovakia (3-0) and Bosnia-Herzegovina (2-0). They also held Italy (2-2) and Switzerland (0-0) to a draw. This augurs well for the Moroccans at the Women's World Cup. They share Pool H with Colombia, Germany and South Korea.

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