Nigeria, Zambia, South Africa and Morocco are all committed to the Women's World Cup. Are any of these four countries likely to have a good run?
This Thursday began the FIFA Women's World Cup which takes place in New Zealand and Australia. If New Zealand opened the ball, by winning against Norway, followed by Australia who also disposed of their opponent, the continent was waiting for Nigeria to enter the fray. And against Canada, the Nigerians failed to create the feat. The match ended with the score of 0 to 0 with the expulsion, at the very end of the match, of Deborah Abiodun. Tomorrow, Zambia will face Japan. Then it will be the turn of South Africa and Morocco.
Can one of these four teams go all the way? “Although the four qualified African teams are not among the favorites to lift the World Cup trophy, there is a good chance that one of them will manage to qualify for the knockout stages. In any case, they all have the potential to make things happen”, summarizes Wycliffe W. Njororai Simiyu, professor and researcher in sports sciences, in The Conversation.
This is all the more true as the groups in which these selections have fallen are, to say the least, noted. Zambia, which has some strengths to show, will indeed play against the 2011 World Champions, the Japanese, Costa Rica and Spain. The Zambians can count on Barbra Banda, their star striker. The player multiplied the goals during the last Olympic Games and had beaten Germany, just before the World Cup, in a friendly match.
Morocco also has a chance to shine. Finalists of the 2022 African Cup of Nations, the Atlas Lionesses will have Germany, who have won the competition twice, in their path. Here too, Morocco can count on a talented goalscorer, Rosella Ayane, born in the United Kingdom. As for South Africa, undoubtedly the team most likely to go far in the competition, they experienced some difficulties in their preparatory course with problems related to the payment of bonuses.
The African teams will therefore have a lot to do. But one of them can hope to qualify, in particular thanks to the new format. This year, 32 nations are competing, instead of 24 before. “There is strong hope that with the new expanded format of the tournament, an African team can rise to the occasion and cause enough surprises to qualify for the round of XNUMX of the tournament,” concludes Wycliffe W. Njororai Simiyu.