By Harry Awurumibe, Editor, Abuja Bureau
Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea and Angola have joined the defending champions South Africa and bronze-winning Zambia to qualify for the second round of the Women’s African Cup of Nations (WAFCON) Morocco 2024 qualifiers.
This is even as countries like Guinea, Mali, Ghana, Togo and Tunisia are almost through to the second round without waiting for the result of the second leg after outscoring their opponents by many goals in the first leg earlier this week.
Nigeria qualified for the next round by virtue of her opponent, Saò Tome and Principe pulling out before the first leg fixture last Friday at Onikan Stadium Lagos, citing financial difficulties.
Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) which had earlier released the list of players expected to prosecute the match against Saò Tome and Principe had to inform the players and clubs that the match has been called off.
The nine-time African champions will now host the winner of the match between Cape Verde and Liberia even as Cape Verde thrashed Liberia 3-0 on Friday courtesy of goals from Moreira (15′, 90+5) and Pereira (53′) at Estádio Nacional de Cabo Verde, Praia. Return leg holds on Tuesday, September 26,
Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex, Monrovia
In the same vein, Equatorial Guinea won on walkover and advanced to the second round after Libya withdrew prior to the first leg due to the aftermath of the 2023 Libya floods hence the first leg match billed for Estadio de Malabo, Malabo did not hold.
Also, Angola won on walkover and advanced to the second round after Sudan withdrew prior to the first leg citing lack of preparation due to no local championship being contested since the War in Sudan started. The visitors failed to show up on Tuesday, September 19, 2023 at Estádio dos Coqueiros, Luanda.
The trio have joined defending champions South Africa and WAFCON 2022 bronze-winning team, Zambia to qualify for the second round of the ongoing qualifiers.
Prompt News reports that other countries that have one leg already in the second round of the qualifiers are Guinea, Mali, Ghana, Togo and Tunisia as well as Egypt, Botswana and Cape Verde thanks to their first leg massive win over their opponents.
In Conakry, Guinea senior women’s football team went goals berserk at General Lansana Contè Stadium by thrashing Mauritius 8-0 early this week, making the return leg on Tuesday at
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Guinea’s goalscorers are Kourouma (9′, 75′), Fancinandouno (40′, 66′), M. Camara (54′), Lamah (59′),
A. Camara (77′) and N. Camara (90′) while Mauritius could not find a consolation goal.
Elsewhere at Stade de Kégué, Lomé, Togo hammered Djibouti 7-0 on Friday, September 22, 2023 with goals from the boots of Woedikou (8′, 47′, 76′, 90′), N’Djambara (25′), Gnintegma (32′) and Kayaba (76′) to render the return leg insignificant.
In far away Kigali Pelé Stadium, Kigali, home team Rwanda lost 0-7 to the Black Queens of Ghana. A brace each by Achiaa (76′, 81′) and Badu (14′, 64′) as well as goals by Boaduwaa (3′), Adubea (28′) and Kusi (51′) ensured that Ghana is mathematically through to the second round as the return leg on Tuesday, September at Accra Sports Stadium is a dead rubber.
At Stade Municipal de Soliman, Tunisia on Friday ruthlessly thrashed hapless Niger 7-0 in the first leg with Tunisia’s striker, Ellouzi banging in a hat trick (67′, 80′, 90+2′) and a brace by Houij (14′, 58′) as well as goals scored by Klai (43′) and Hamdi (73′) which has taken the match out of the hands of Niger who will play the second leg also in Tunisia.
Also, at Stade de la Réunification, Douala in Cameroon, the adopted home ground of Central Africa Republic (CAR), visiting Mali walloped the host 7-1 with Adama Diarra scoring a hat trick on the day winger Abiye Traore scored a brace while F. Diarra and O. Koné added one each as CAR scored a consolation goal.
Other countries that are almost through to the second round without waiting for the result of the second leg after outscoring their opponents by many goals in the first leg earlier this week are Egypt and Cape Verde with 4-0 and 3-0 lead going into next week’s return leg matches against South Sudan and Liberia respectively.
In Cairo, Egypt routed South Sudan 4-0 courtesy of goals from S. Adam (4′), H. Maustafa (27′), O. Samir (38′) and S. Essam (57′) on Wednesday at Petrosport Stadium, Cairo with Referee Dorsaf Ganouati from Tunisia incharge of affairs. The return leg also in Cairo’s Al Salam Stadium, Cairo is to fulfil all righteousness.
Nigeria’s likely opponents in the second round, Cape Verde holds a comfortable three goals advantage after beating Liberia 3-0 in the first leg tie with a brace by Moreira (15′, 90+5′) and a goal by Pereira (53′) at Estádio Nacional de Cabo Verde, Praia on Friday. It will take a miracle for Liberia to cancel the deficit at Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex, Monrovia on Tuesday.