Wednesday Jul 13, 2022. 11:00
The 2022 Africa Women Cup of Nations (WAFCON) enters the quarterfinal stage on Wednesday 13 and Thursday 14 July, as eight teams compete not only for a berth in the semifinals, but for four guaranteed tickets to next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup (WWC).
The action gets underway on Wednesday evening with Zambia taking on Senegal at Stade Mohammed V in Casablanca, followed by hosts Morocco tackling Botswana at Stade Moulay Abdellah in Rabat.
None of the four teams in action on Wednesday have qualified for the WWC before.
Shepolopolo coach Bruce Mwape says his side will approach the clash with Senegal as a ‘final’ and give their all to secure a first senior World Cup qualification for the country – in either men’s or women’s football.
“We want to play as if we’re playing the final because once we win that one, automatically we know that we are in the World Cup,” Zambia coach Bruce Mwape coach told BBC Sport Africa.
“This game is what we want to play – and we’ll be taking it very seriously.”
Thursday’s action opens with Cameroon taking on Nigeria at Stade Mohammed V in Casablanca, followed by South Africa tackling Tunisia at Stade Moulay Hassan in Rabat.
Only the North African side has not reached the WWC before. Nigeria are regulars (they are looking to appear for a ninth successive time), Cameroon appeared at the finals in 2015 and 2019, while South Africa made their World Cup debut in 2019.
The clash between the Super Falcons and the Indomitable Lionesses is the pick of the quarterfinals, pitting together two heavyweights of the women’s game in Africa.
“We understand the history between Nigeria and Cameroon. It will be a difficult game and we are looking forward to the game,” Nigeria coach Randy Waldrum is quoted by Complete Sports.
He added that key defender Ashleigh Plumptre will be fit for the quarterfinal: “She’s fit and ready to play, it is my job to protect the players and ensure they are in top shape. She trained yesterday and she will be available for Cameroon.”
However, the quarterfinals will not be the last hope for 2023 WWC qualification: the four losing teams will meet in two ‘Repechage’ matches on Sunday 17 July.
The two winners will advance into the inter-confederation playoffs: a mini-tournament in New Zealand early next year which provides a final chance to earn qualification for the World Cup.
WAFCON quarterfinal fixtures
Wednesday 13 July
19:00: Zambia v Senegal
22:00: Morocco v Botswana
Thursday 14 July
19:00: Cameroon v Nigeria
22:00: South Africa v Tunisia
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