The first round of the 12th edition of the women's AFCON ended on Sunday, July 10 in Morocco. The 12 teams in competition offered a great show. At the time to make the assessment of this group phase, we can, from the beautiful surprise of Botswana to the withdrawal of the stars Asisat Oshoala and Thembi Kgatlan, to bring back some highlights. Sport News Africa offers you a five-point assessment.
For "its" female AFCON, Morocco had the pressure of the result. And this was clearly felt during the opening match against Burkina Faso. Very borrowed and clumsy, the Atlas Lionesses offered a very timid performance in front of their public. But they still managed to take the three points in front of the Etalons ladies (1-0). A victory obtained with difficulty, but which will have the merit of freeing a little the protected of Reynald Pedros. Confident with this success, they will approach the other two matches in group A with more confidence and desire. The result: they beat Uganda and then Senegal (not without difficulty) to finish first in their group with 9 points. Now they will have to confirm against Botswana in the quarterfinals.
Botswana plays it like a great
Although a novice, Botswana, Morocco's future opponent, has seduced more than one for its first participation in a final phase of the WAFCON. The Zebras offered a great show for their three matches in group C. First, they beat Burundi (4-2) in their opening game, with a sensational goal by Refilwe Thokalele, who scored twice in that match. And if they logically lost to the two ogres of this group, Nigeria and South Africa, the Botswana gave the latter a hard time. Botswana, who qualified as the best third-placed team, showed their worth in the group stage. And it will be necessary to count on him to lead the hard life to the Lionesses of the Atlas.
Africa takes a small revenge on Nigeria
A remake of the final of the women's AFCON 2018. African champions in title, the Super Falcons of Nigeria had beaten South Africa in the final of the previous edition to lift the trophy. In Morocco, the chance wanted that the two teams share the same group (C). An opportunity offered to the Bayana Bayana to take a little revenge on their tormentors of 2018. And the least we can say is that they did not miss it. The South Africans have indeed taken the best on the Nigerians (2-1) during the first game in Group C. As they had done in 2018 during the group phase against the same Super Falcons. It should be remembered that the two teams were also housed in the same group during this edition, before meeting in the final. Will history repeat itself?
Asisat Oshoala and Thembi Kgatlana: the two best players of the continent out!
The curse is falling on the stars of this women's AFCON 2022 in Morocco. After the Zambian Barbra Banda, excluded from the tournament by CAF, because she was considered too strong for a woman, the Nigerian Asisat Oshoala and the South African Thembi Kgatlana also had to withdraw due to injury. For Asisat Oshoala, player of FC Barcelona, she was forced to leave her team from the first group match of Nigeria, following a knee injury. As for the best African player in 2018, Thembi Kgatlana, she suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon, this Sunday, July 10, during the third match against Botswana.
Ghizlane Cheback, top scorer of the tournament
For this group phase, the host country, Morocco, has scored 5 goals, including three by Ghizlane Cheback. That is more than half. The 32-year-old striker is the only player to have scored so many goals since the beginning of the tournament. This makes her the best scorer for the moment. The captain of the Atlas Lionesses will have the opportunity to improve her stats in the quarterfinals against Botswana.
Program of the quarterfinals
Wednesday, July 13th
5 pm: Senegal-Zambia
8 pm: Morocco-Botswana
Thursday, July 14th
8pm: South Africa-Tunisia