The Africa Women’s Championship finals will be hosted by South Africa in 4 weeks time, from October 31 to November 14. Interestingly, 7 former FC Indiana players will participate in this competition. The champions and runners representing the continent at next edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany from June 26 to July 17.
Equatorial Guinea won the 2008 AWC on home soil, in the process stunning Nigeria’s Super Falcons, who had won all the previous editions of the tournament, at the semi-final stage.
Equatorial Guinea then beat South Africa 2-1 in the 2008 final, so there will be plenty of scores to settle during what promises to be two weeks of exciting African women’s football.
Nigeria’s Super Falcons, Black Queens of Ghana, Indomitable Lionesses of Cameroon and South Africa have participated in every single edition of the tourney since 1998 and Nigeria were five time winners in 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004 and 2006.
Holders Equatorial Guinea will be making third successive appearance whereas Mali have been at the biggest stage of women’s football since 2002. The Lady Fennecs of Algeria’s have participated in two previous editions in 2006 and 2004.
Mali – Key player: Dembele. Without her playing well, Mali’s chances will be nonexistent.
Nigeria – Key player: Faith Ikidi. An imposing and vital figure in defense.
South Africa – Key player: Simphiwe Dludlu. Will shoulder a lot of responsibility in the back if South Africa are to be successful.
Tanzania – Key player: Rashidi. Tanzania are reliant on her goals.
Algeria – Key player: Wadah. Most experienced of Algeria players.
Cameroon – Key player: Marlyse N’Doumbouk. The experienced holding midfielder is vital to Cameroon’s chances.
Equatorial Guinea – Key player: Genevieve Anonman. Her German experience will be vital in this tournament.
Ghana – Key player: Anita Amankwaa. A lively striker who on her day is a handful for any defense at this level.
From Group A Nigeria and South Africa should have no trouble advancing.
In Group B Cameroon, EG and Ghana will fight to advance. Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea, with a number of their stars playing in Germany, may have an edge over Ghana.
Nigeria along with South Africa are my favorites to meet in the final with Nigeria winning by a goal.