African teams aim at rebound after winless FIFA Women’s World Cup start

Africa’s four representatives at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup began the tournament last week with something of a whimper, playing one game each without a single win.

While all teams have played four matches, they only have a draw to show for it. That point came from Nigeria who battled to a barren draw with Olympic champions, Canada.

Despite the team’s opening performances, team officials said they remained confident about their qualification into the next round of the tournament.

Super Falcons 🇳🇬

The Super Falcons were resolute against the North Americans and had goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie to thank after she saved veteran Christine Sinclair’s penalty in the Group B tie.

Nigeria’s “Super Falcons” were the only African team to secure a point in their opening fixture of the World Cup after their goalless draw to Canada.

The Super Falcons are third in Group B and can secure a place in the next round of the tournament if they avoid defeat in their upcoming fixtures against Australia and Ireland.

Copper Queens 🇿🇲

The game which was a debut appearance for the country in the competition shifted attention to the Copper Queens of Zambia. But the debutants got a rude welcome. Hinata Miyazawa scored twice as former champions Japan smashed them 5-0 in the Group C clash at the Waikato Stadium in Hamilton, New Zealand.

Japan’s midfielder #15 Aoba Fujino heads the ball towards goal during the Australia and New Zealand 2023 Women’s World Cup Group C football match between Zambia and Japan at Waikato Stadium in Hamilton on July 22, 2023. (Photo by Saeed KHAN / AFP)

Bruce Mwape, coach of Zambia’s “Copper Queens,” acknowledged his team had not played well against Japan but expressed confidence in a positive result for their remaining Group C fixtures.

“It’s not the end of the world, I’m sure we can still come back and fight for a qualification spot,” Mwape said speaking to reporters.

The Copper Queens can qualify for the next round of the World Cup if they win their final fixtures against Spain and Costa Rica.

Banyana Banyana 🇿🇦

South Africa took to the stage, aiming to make history in their opening game against Sweden. Against the odds, they scored first in the second half but the number three-ranked team on the globe equalised.

Sweden also grabbed a 90th-minute winner to leave the Banyana Banyana heartbroken. South Africa lost 2-1 to the team.

Desiree Ellis, coach of South Africa’s “Banyana Banyana,” said her team has world class players that can produce a positive result in their remaining games against Argentina and Italy.

“I think we’re more mature now,” Ellis said, adding, “players are playing at good clubs abroad, and our league is getting better.”

Atlas Lionesses 🇲🇦

While Morocco made history as the first Arab team to feature at the Women’s World Cup, Germany’s Alexandra Popp scored twice in the first half and added four more in the second in a 6-0 defeat of Morocco in the Women’s World Cup opener.

Morocco’s goalkeeper #01 Khadija Er-Rmichi (L) tries to save the ball during the Australia and New Zealand 2023 Women’s World Cup Group H football match between Germany and Morocco at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium, also known as AAMI Park, in Melbourne on July 24, 2023. (Photo by WILLIAM WEST / AFP)

The margin of victory is the largest in the tournament so far, with the two-time champions against a Moroccan team on debut at the tournament. The Atlas Lionesses’ loss adds pressure to its remaining group-stage matches.

The team will be aiming to improve on this performance in order to keep its hopes alive of advancing to the tournament’s knockout stage.

Source: News Agencies

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