Amazing comebacks as Africans Amazons scale into Women’s World Cup R-16

African female football comes of age as representatives prove their mettle at the on-going Female World Cup in Australia/ New Zealand

Ola Adeniyi

On Thursday Africa made history by having three teams in the round of 16 at the FIFA Women’s World Cup after Morocco held on strongly to beat Colombia and edged out Germany from the competition currently going on in Australia/ New Zealand.

The hunting grounds in the down-under have proven very rewarding for the African continent as the Amazon women and girls are pushing on in amazing styles with enriching rewards in their kitties.

The Super Falcons of Nigeria, the Bayana Bayana of South Africa and the Atlas Lionesses of Morocco have all booked their places in the next round of the competition after hard-fought three group matches respectively. And for their efforts, each player in the three teams has earned $60,000 for the efforts.

The sweet stories started with the continental female powerhouse, Nigeria who in Group B, as the least ranked team overcame the challenges of Canada, host Australia and debutant Ireland to book its place in the second round.

The Falcons played a goalless draw with Canada in their opener, bear Australia 3-2 in the second match and played another scoreless draw with Ireland for their progress in the tournament to be assured.

Super Falcons celebrate a goal

The Falcons ended second with 5 points behind Australia who had 6 points and ahead of Canada with 4 points and Ireland with 1 point

For the Bayana Bayana and the Atlas Lionesses, there were real disturbing troubles on the way to the round of 16 as their respective qualifications looked shaky at the start.

For the Bayana Bayana, who played in Group G, it was a hard journey passing through female football giants Sweden, Italy and Argentina. Playing in Wellington, it lost its first match 1-2 to Sweden; played a scintillating 2–2 draw with Argentina in Dunedin; and beat Spain in a nerve-wracking final group game in Wellington, coming from behind and scoring a last-minute decider to win 3-2 and qualify for the next round.

Bayana Bayana in jubilation

The South Africans finished second in the group with 4 points behind Sweden which ended with 9 points and ahead of Italy with 3 points and Argentina with 1 point.

The Atlas Lionesses of Morocco seem set to follow in the path of their male counterparts that set Qatar on fire last year at the last male World Cup.

Atlas Lionesses celebrate

Morocco for its female World Cup campaign was in Group H with Colombia, Germany and Korea. All hopes for the North Africans seemed lost at the end of their first match when they were walloped  0-6 by Germany in Melbourne.  But they bounced back against South Korea winning 1-0 in Adelaide and fought a highly defensive game against marauding Colombia to win 1-0  in Perth and qualify second in the group with 6 points behind Colombia with the same points and ahead of Germany with 4 points and Korea Republic with 1 point.

After the rest days, the African Amazons continue their hunts for glory with the South Africans taking on the Netherlands on Sunday, August 6. Nigeria play England on Monday, August 7, while Morocco will play France on Tuesday, August 8.

For the fourth African team in the tournament, the Copper Queens of Zambia, the journey had ended in the group stage, the team, which finished third at the African Championship could not overcome the challenge of Japan, Spain and Costa Rica Rica in Group C as it finished third with 3 points behind Japan (9 points); Spain (6 points) and above Costa Rica with 0 point.

Zambia’s Copper Queens

The team lost its first match 0-5 to Japan in Hamilton and second match 0-5 to Spain in Auckland but showed the African tenacity and the continent’s pride back in Hamilton beating Costa Rica 3–1 in their last group match.

The consolation for the Copper Queens, who are debutants should be that some tournament’s favourites are also on their trips back home having been eliminated also. Canada, Brazil, Italy and Germany are in this category.

And each Copper Queen will receive $30,000.

So all should note the African Amazons are announcing their arrival on the world stage in football.

The 2023 World Cup prize bonanza will also serve as a big tonic for the girls going forward as the main prize of $110 million is more than three times the amount that was on offer in France 2019 and six times more than the 2015 tournament in Canada. Players of the winning team will get at least $270,000 each, with the losing finalists getting $195,000 and the third-placed team will each get $180,000.


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