But what about African women’s football?3 minute read

World Cup fever has well and truly begun as we eagerly plough through the group stages. This year, Nigeria, Egypt, Senegal, Tunisia, and Morocco were the African nations to qualify, with news of Nigeria’s fast selling kit making headlines worldwide.

But lately, people have begun to, rightly, question the dominance and global attention of men’s football in comparison to women’s. Quite frankly, most of us are unable to identify whether or not our country’s women’s football team even exists, let alone their skill level.

One step in the right direction, could be to catch on what is happening with international women’s football right now. The month of June has seen the conclusion to the qualifying matches for the biennial African Women’s Cup of Nations by CAF. The countries that qualified will compete for the cup from September to December 2018 and will also be the African representatives in the next Fifa World Cup.

Here are the countries that will begin to compete in Ghana in September 2018:

1. Ghana

Ghana are the uncontested hosts of the cup this year, which means they got an automatic qualification. Their team has never won the competition but won second place three times.

2. Algeria

The Algerian team is currently ranked 76th in the world in the FIFA women’s rankings. They are nicknamed “The Fennecs” after the fennec fox, a species of fox found in the Sahara desert. In 2019, Algeria is tipped to be the first Arab and Muslim nation to participate in a Women’s World Cup.

3. Cameroon

The Cameroon national women’s football team finished second four times in the competition, and competed in their first ever FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2015.

4. Equatorial Guinea 

Equatorial Guinea, or the ‘Nzalang Nacional’, are two times champions of the tournament, in 2008 and 2012, but have recently been embroiled in a scandal that has led to their ban by FIFA in the upcoming women’s World Cup.

5. Mali

Mali, named ‘Les Aiglonnes’ or ‘The Female Eagles’, and reached fifth place in 2016. That same year, the Fédération Malienne de Football (FMF), the governing body for football in Mali, created the first ever national league for women.

6. South Africa

The South African team, nicknamed Banyana Banyana’ or ‘The Girls,’ are returning to the tournament for the 12th time but have never won it. They got as close as 2nd in 2012.

7. Zambia

The Zambian team, or “The She-polopolo”, will be appearing in the tournament for the third time in the history of the cup.

8. Nigeria

The Nigerian team, called the ‘Super Falcons’, are the reigning, and most frequent, champions of the cup. Their striker Asisat Oshoala was recently named CAF African Women’s Player of the Year.

The Africa Women’s Cup of Nations begins in September, follow #AWCON2018 on Twitter for details about the tournament. Who will you be rooting for?

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Naliaka Odera is a freelance writer, editor and social media consultant. She is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of ‘Of Africa’, an online platform that celebrates women of African descent while fostering editorial talent. She is a proud Kenyan who has lived in Belgium, Canada and Thailand. While in Canada, she earned a BA at the University of British Columbia. She has an ongoing love affair with words and loves great conversations as well as all genres of literature. Her writing can be found at www.naliakao.com. Through Of Africa and her consultation, she stresses the importance of people learning vital communication skills to be able to speak for themselves.