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Nigeria, South Africa face off as draw for WAFCON is conducted

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  • The Africa Women’s Cup of Nations is set for Morocco in June
  • Nigeria are the record champions
  • The tournament as not held in 2020 due to COVID-19

Eleven-time champions Nigeria have been drawn with five-time finalists South Africa in Group C as the draw for the 2022 Africa Women’s Cup of Nations (AWCON) was conducted in Morocco, paving the way for the tournament.

This is the first time that the tournament will be contested by 12 teams, having only involved eight teams previously.

The Cup of Nations was not hosted in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. At the time, the pandemic wave had swept through the world, creating lockdown situations, something that made it difficult to stage qualification matches and the subsequent tournament whose host was also yet to be picked.

The Super Falcons are looking for a record extending 12th title and will battle in Group C alongside the Banyana Banyana alongside debutants Burundi and Botswana. Nigeria and South Africa met in the final of the 2018 showpiece in Ghana, the Super Falcons winning on penalties.

Nigeria have won the last three consecutive tournaments.

“Well we always knew the draw was not going to be easy. Nigeria, the defending champions and multiple winners always bring their A game and know what it takes to win,” South Africa coach Desiree Ellis said.

She added; “We have played them a few times in the group stages. They have raised their levels and we have to raise our levels even higher to get a positive result. The first game is the most important game and once again we need a positive result but it will take a huge effort.”

Meanwhile, hosts Morocco were drawn in Group A and will face off with Uganda, Burkina Faso and Senegal. The host nation will take on Burkina Faso in their opening match at the Prince Moulay Abdellah Sports Complex in Rabat on July 2.

“For a little over a year and a half, it has been clear. Our goal it is to do well in this WAFCON, and qualify at least for the semi-finals which will give us a chance to go to the World Cup. But now, we are focusing first on our group matches,” said Morocco’s head coach Renayld Pedros.

Uganda earned a ticket to the tournament after earning a walkover in the final round when Kenya failed to participate. Kenya’s Harambee Starlets could not play the qualifier due to the current status of the football at home, where the Football Kenya Federation duties have been taken over by a caretaker committee.

And now, Uganda who return to the tournament for the first time in almost four decades, hope to do the best.

“We have to represent our country well. The draw was made and the teams we shall face are good teams. But we shall be ready to face them. We shall have other tournaments like the CECAFA Women’s senior Championship which will help us improve the team and gain good momentum ahead of the competition in Morocco,” said Uganda coach William Lutalo.

In Group B, Cameroon have been pooled with Zambia, Tunisia and Togo.

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