Women’s African Cup Of Nations (WAFCON 2022) came to an end on Saturday 23 July 2022. The rarity of goals throughout the tournament shows how much female soccer has grown on the continent. All the four semi-finalists have already qualified for next year’s World Cup.
Host Morocco and South Africa battled it out in WAFCON 2022 finals. South Africa got to the final after beating Zambia by a lone goal in the semi-finals. Host, Morocco didn’t have a smooth sail to the final.
They were held by a 9-woman Nigerian team to the penalties. Morocco later won the game by 5—4 on penalties. Interestingly, South Africa and Morocco are the only two teams in the tournament that did not lose any games heading to the finals.
Recap of the WAFCON 2022 final game
The WAFCON 2022 was not bereft of drama. The first half was fairly even with both teams playing cautiously. South Africa had a few moments that they failed to convert. However, the second half was more open.
The drama started after Jermaine made an important run through the flank. She stayed on her feet even after a strong tackle to deliver a cool pass to Hilda Magaia who slotted it home at the hour mark. Ten minutes later a similar combination saw Magaia double the lead.
At this time, some of the Moroccan fans were already leaving the pitch. However, the Moroccan team showed that they were no pushovers. They fought hard to get one back before the 80th minute through Rosella Ayane. That seemed to rejuvenate the Moroccans who pushed hard to get their equalizer.
At the end of the 90 minutes of regular play, the fourth officials showed 9 minutes of added time. The South Africans held on and would not be broken. In the end, it was South Africa 2, Morocco 1.
Defending champions go home without a medal
Coming into WAFCON 2022 as defending champions, there were lots of expectations from the Nigerian team. However, that expectation dwindled after they lost their first group game to South Africa. The Nigerian team seemed to find their rhythm afterward and push on to the semi-finals where they lost to Morocco.
Going into the third-place match with two of their key players on red cards was a serious blow. However, that is not to write off the effort of the Zambian team. Eventually, it was an own goal from Chiamaka Nnadozie, the young Nigerian goalkeeper that handed Zambia the bronze, their first in the history of the tournament.
Interesting facts from WAFCON 2022
While WAFCON 2022 has come to an end in grand style, there are interesting facts that you may have missed.
Morocco has never reached the finals of the WAFCON. Inasmuch as the nation expected the women to go all the way judging by the huge number of fans that were always present during their games, reaching the finals and qualifying for the World Cup is already a win for them.
South Africa has always been knocking on the door. Four times, the Banyana Banyana of South Africa have come close to winning the WAFCON but have either fallen to Nigeria or Equatorial Guinea. They have also won the bronze medal twice.
Morocco is the first North African Nation to host WAFCON. In all its previous 11 editions, the Women’s African Cup of Nations has either been hosted by a West African, South African, or Central African country. WAFCON 2022 was a breath of fresh air of some sort.
Nigeria and South Africa have hosted the tournament the most times. The two countries have hosted WAFCON a record three times with Nigeria winning in all six cases.
Zambia team won their first bronze. Another country that performed remarkably well and set a new record was Zambia. This was their first time reaching the last four in the tournament. They will also be making their World Cup debut.
Nigeria has reached the last four in all WAFCON tournaments. Inasmuch as the Super Falcons left WAFCON 2022 without a trophy, they are the only team on the continent that has played in all WAFCON semifinals.