July 15 – Morocco, Zambia, South Africa and Nigeria will represent Africa at the 2023 World Cup, with the losing quarter-finalists at the Africa Cup of Nations condemned to the playoff route.
It is the ninth time in a row that the Super Falcons have qualified for the World Cup. In the last eight of the continental tournament, they defeated neighbours and rivals Cameroon 1-0 courtesy of Rasheedat Ajibade’s 57th-minute header.
At the 2019 World Cup in France, Nigeria and Cameroon made history by becoming the first African nations to reach the knockout phase of the global finals.
South Africa also booked their spot in Australia and New Zealand with a narrow 1-0 victory against Tunisia. It’s the second consecutive time Banyana Banyana have qualified for the World Cup.
“Now that we have qualified, the players will have no pressure because you know when you lose here, you have to go the other route, and you do not want to go that route,” said South Africa coach Desiree Ellis. “Ultimately, we are now going to the World Cup. That pressure is now off their shoulders, and now they can prepare for the next game.”
Elsewhere, Morocco and Zambia will debut at the World Cup. The hosts defeated Botswana 2-1 and Zambia edged past Senegal on penalties (4-2) after a 1-1 draw. In the semi-finals, Morocco will take on Nigeria while Zambia play South Africa.
In the repechage on Sunday, Senegal meet Tunisia in Casablanca and Botswana face Cameroon in Rabat. The winners will then participate in the ten-team intercontinental play-off in New Zealand in February to decide the last three World Cup finalists.
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