Africa Sports Women Posted on 2022-06-23 12:31:32
If there is a question of which football competition is the biggest in women's football in Africa, there is no doubt that The African Women Cup of Nations (AWCON) wears the crown. AWCON is a biennial international competition that gathers the best African women's national football teams across the continent. The competition hosts women's national teams from member countries of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), the governing body for African football. It is an eagerly awaited competition, especially in an era where women's football has become more appreciated and recognised.
The tournament has been reputed for showcasing the beauty of women's football in Africa, as there is low publicity surrounding it. For many young female footballers, it is a huge opportunity to be called up to the national team for such a competition, for it is there that international scouts come to search for talents. Although some of these footballers start playing for their countries by participating in age-based competitions, it does not open many doors of opportunity for them, unlike their male counterparts, who benefit more from these opportunities. It doesn't mean that there is no benefit attached to it because young players who are exceptional in these age-based competitions get pretty lucky and may be scouted to play for clubs outside the continent. An example is Asisat Oshoala, who was the highest goal scorer in the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup and was also named the tournament's best player. As a result, she got the opportunity to play for Liverpool Women in England in 2015.
However, AWCON is for the 'big women'. The top-performing women footballers who are also succeeding at the club level, whether in Africa, Europe, or other continents, are called up by their national federations to come and represent their countries on the biggest stage in Africa Women's Football. Apart from representing their countries and fighting to win the grand prize, these women see the tournament as an opportunity to showcase their skills and put their best foot forward. Citizens and fans are not the only ones watching, but other people, such as scouts are physically at the tournament to seek out exceptional talents, they can shape to become stars.
There is also the media who help publicise the tournament and share news and stats about players making waves and top clubs, both in Africa and outside the continent, who watch out for players that will be instrumental to the success of their teams. For some players, it is an opportunity to be further recognised by their clubs and eventually break through to become regular first-team players or get big moves to better clubs. Thus, in every tournament, new stars are birthed, rising stars break through and shining stars shine brighter.
This year will be no exception, as it will see the re-arrival of the competition, which will be taking place next month. The 2022 Africa Women Cup of Nations is officially called the Total Energies Africa Women Cup of Nations because of its sponsors. It is worthy of note that the energy company also sponsored the maiden CAF Women's Champions League held in November 2021. Morocco will host the tournament, which will take place from the 2nd to the 23rd of July, 2022. It will also be the first time 12 teams will feature in the tournament instead of 8 teams. The participating teams include Morocco, Burkina Faso, Senegal and Uganda in Group A; Cameroon, Zambia, Tunisia and Togo in Group B; and Nigeria, South Africa, Burundi and Botswana in Group C.
Finally, the tournament will present the teams that will play in the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, as the top four teams will automatically qualify to represent Africa at the most prominent national football competition in women's football. Two more teams will also be eligible for the inter-confederations playoffs, which will determine the final three qualification spots for the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup. Also, this year will either see the emergence of a new winner or another triumph by Nigeria, the current champions, who have cemented their position as the queens of African football.