By Harry Awurumibe
Two of the most dreaded rivals of the Super Falcons, Ghana and Cameroon are still in the race for the one and half tickets reserved for Africa for the women’s football tournament of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The overall winner of the qualifiers out of the eight remaining countries in the race will qualify automatically for the Olympics while the losing finalist will have the go to navigate the two-legged play-off with Chile from the South American confederation.
The eight countries still in the running for the tickets are Nigeria and arch-rivals Ghana, Cameroon and Cote d Ivoire. Africa rare Kenya, Zambia, DR Congo and Botswana which surprisely eliminated South Africa to reach the 3rd round.
Already, the world soccer ruling body, FIFA and Confederation of African Football (CAF) have fixed the first and second legs of the qualifiers to hold between September 30 to 8 October. A close look at the 3rd round fixtures showed that the West African derby between Nigeria and Cote d Ivoire will highlight the pairing which also pitched South African neighbours, Zambia and Botswana against each other.
Ghana will battle Kenya for the 4th round ticket while Cameroon will trade tackles with DR Congo in what looks like an all Central Africa fight for the chance to advance to the next round.
However, the Nigeria and Cote d Ivoire tie will pose a tricky encounter over the two legs as the Ivoriens are becoming a strong nuts to crack by their more illustrious Nigerians. The Les Elephants have in the recent Women’s WAFU Cup for players based in Africa held in Abidjan given Nigeria a run for her money.
It took the heroics of Super Falcons first choice goalkeeper, Chiamaka Nnadozie to beat the Ivoriens in the final of the tournament by penalty shoot out. And with a seasoned Head Coach Clementine who is a member of FIFA Technical Study (TSG), Cote d Ivoire is a real threat to Super Falcons ambition to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.