Women’s Africa Cup Of Nations Starts With Morocco Taking On Burkina Faso
The 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations will kick-off on Saturday when the host nation Morocco take on Burkina Faso in a Group A match at the Stade Prince Moulay Abdallah in Rabat.
The match is set to start at 20:30 GMT.
Morocco are participating in the competition after a 22-year absence, and they eyeing a maiden Women’s World Cup spot. Their debut arrived in 1998 after being handed a walkover following Kenya’s withdrawal from the qualification matches.
The Atlas Lionesses made their next qualification to the WAFCON was in 2000, where they were eliminated in the group stages of the competition after failing to win a single match.
Morocco will get the show underway with a clash against WAFCON newbies Burkina Faso this weekend, with the North African country playing host to the continental tournament for the first time in history.
Reynard Pedro’s charges will be hoping to go all the way this time around, but will need their fellow countrymen to rally behind them if they are to claim an unlikely first WAFCON title.
Coach Pedro’s is one of the most experienced coaches coming into this year’s WAFCON, and will be relying on admirable array of talent at his disposal to win the title.
“Indeed, the event is important for the players and the country, but the whole thing is not to put negative pressure on the players. Personally, I did not talk much about this match to my players and the goal is to make this pressure positive,” coach Pedro said at a pre-match press conference.
AS FAR duo Sanaa Mssoudy and Ghizlane Chebbak and Dijon midfielder Salma Amani are some of the big names in Atlas Lionesses squad that has played over 14 friendly matches in preparations for the competition.
Burkina Faso, in contrast, will be making their maiden appearance in WAFCON and arrive with a squad where all but two players are based on home soil.
The Ladies Stallions are qualified for the tournament after eliminating Benin 5-2 on aggregate and Guinea Bissau 7-0 on aggregate in impressive double-headed qualifiers.
Pascal Sawadogo, the Burkina Faso coach, said that his primary objective during this match is to prove to Burkinabes that the women also know how to play football.
“It is often said that behind every man is a great lady, but today I will say that we are side by side. I can’t talk about the strengths and weaknesses of our opponent but what I can say is that Moroccan women play good football. We will play to our qualities and we will bleed to win. I think our group is very balanced,” said Sawadogo.
Sawadogo will be counting on captain Charlotte Millogo, star striker Juliette Nana, and Morocco-based Limata Nikiema to inspire the West Africans to not only topping Group A, but still being part of the tournament from a playing perspective come July 23.