The Africa Women Cup of Nations (AWCON) was supposed to hold in 2020 but was canceled due to COVID-19. Hosted by Morocco, the tournament will also serve as the qualifier for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in New Zealand and Australia.
Consequently, the four teams that make it to the semifinals will book a spot at next year’s Women’s World Cup. This year’s tournament will run from July 2nd to 23rd. The Africa Women Cup Of Nations, Morocco 2022 is the tournament’s 14th edition.
Sweeping changes to the Africa Women Cup of Nations
Unlike previous years, the Africa Women Cup of Nations, Morocco 2022 is experiencing unprecedented changes. Firstly, the tournament is now expanded to 12 teams rather than the previous 8. Also, CAF’s new President, Patrice Motsepe announced at the opening ceremony that there would be a 150% increase in the tournament’s prize money.
Mr. Patrice made the statement at the opening ceremony of the AWCON 2022 at the Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium, Morocco. Consequently, the competition’s winner will get $500,000 instead of the previous $200,000. The runner-up will get $300,000 instead of the previous $175,000.
In addition to qualifying for the World Cup, all semifinalists will also get $225,000 each as against the previous $125,000. The views of the CAF president were echoed by a press release by the Confederation of African Football which partly reads,
“In line with the new policy at CAF to make women’s football in Africa globally competitive, the President of CAF Dr. Patrice Motsepe has announced an increase of 150% in prize money for the TotalEnergies Women’s Africa Cup of Nations, Morocco 2022.”
The Story so far
A total of 28 games will be played at the Africa Women Cup Of Nations, Morocco 2022. So far, 4 games have been played. The tournament kicked off on Saturday 2nd July with the host Morocco taking on Burkina Faso. The host edged over the West African rival with a hard-fought lone goal.
Three games were played on Sunday, July 3rd with Togo recording the biggest defeat of the tournament yet. The Togolese girls also got the first red card of the tournament. Cameroon and Zambia, the two other favorites to win the tournament behind Nigeria played out a goalless draw.
Two more games will be played on Monday 4th July with the most decorated team, Super Falcons of Nigeria taking on South Africa. Nigeria remains the most successful team in the tournament having won it record 11 times. They will be gunning for their 12th title at Morocco 2022.
The favorites to win The Africa Women Cup Of Nations, Morocco 2022
Every team that made it to Morocco 2022 is a potential winner. However, unlike some of the newcomers, the teams that are tipped to win are backed by years of experience. Below are the teams considered the tournament’s favorite.
After beating Ghana in the controversial draw on a 2-1 aggregate, the Super Falcons went ahead to edge over Ivory Coast by 3-0. After winning the 1991 inaugural tournament and going ahead to win it 10 more times, Nigeria remains the team to beat at the Africa Women Cup Of Nations, Morocco 2022. The star player that will likely make the most damage is Asisat Oshoala.
They were the runner-up at the inaugural edition of the Africa Women Cup of Nations. They have been able to achieve the same feat three other times with the most recent being in 2016. On the global stage, the Indomitable Lionesses made it to the quarterfinals in the 2015 and 2019 World Cups. The player to watch is Ajara Nchout.
Like Cameroon, the Banyana Banyana queens of South Africa have been runners-up a record 4 times. The most recent was in 2012. On their way to Morocco 2022, South Africa trumped Mozambique 13-0 on aggregate before sealing their qualification with a 3-1 aggregate win over Algeria. They will hope to go all the way this time. The star player is Thembi Kgatlana.