Women’s Africa Cup of Nations: Holders Nigeria to face Ghana in qualifiers

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The draw for an expanded 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations has produced an intriguing tie in the opening round with defending champions Nigeria set to face neighbours and traditional rivals Ghana.

It is one of 22 ties that saw the 44 teams seeded based on geography rather than a ranking system taking into account past results, the latest Fifa rankings or even a mixture of the two.

Nigeria are currently the top-ranked women’s side in Africa according to Fifa with Ghana at number four.

South Africa made their debut at the Women’s World Cup in 2019 after they were the runners-up at the Nations Cup in 2018, as they lost out to Nigeria on penalties in the final, and their campaign begins against Mozambique.

Once again the Women’s Nations Cup will act as the qualifiers for the global showpiece to be played in Australia and New Zealand with the four semi-finalists securing places at the 2023 World Cup

South Africa coach Desiree Ellis insists she is taking one step at a time.

“We want to focus on qualifying for the Women’s Afcon first and then the World Cup later,” she said after the draw.

Like the Nations Cup the World Cup has expanded and will feature 32 teams rather than 24 in 2023.

As well as the semi-finalists two more African teams will get a second chance to qualify for the World Cup at a 10-team tournament set for New Zealand and Australia with three more nations sealing places at the finals,

The 22 aggregate winners progress to the second round that will decide the 11 nations joining hosts Morocco at next year’s finals.

The 2022 tournament will be the first to feature 12 nations after the cancellation of the 2020 edition due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

As we well as the draws for the Women’s Nations Cup the qualifiers for both the Under-17 and Under-20 Women’s World Cup were drawn in Cairo on Monday (scroll down for details).

Qualifiers for the 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations:

First round:

  • Uganda v Ethiopia
  • Kenya v South Sudan
  • Eritrea v Burundi
  • Djibouti v Rwanda
  • Malawi v Zambia
  • Tanzania v Namibia
  • Zimbabwe v Eswatini
  • Angola v Botswana
  • Mozambique v South Africa
  • Algeria v Sudan
  • Egypt v Tunisia
  • Equatorial Guinea v DR Congo
  • Sao Tome and Principe v Togo
  • Congo v Gabon
  • Central African Republic v Cameroon
  • Sierra Leone v Gambia
  • Liberia v Senegal
  • Mali v Guinea
  • Guinea Bissau v Mauritania
  • Burkina Faso v Benin
  • Nigeria v Ghana
  • Niger v Ivory Coast

African qualifiers for the Under-20 Women’s World Cup Costa Rica 2022:

First Round:

  • Djibouti v Eritrea
  • South Sudan v Rwanda
  • Eswatini v Mozambique
  • Mauritania v Tunisia
  • Niger v Benin
  • Togo v Mali
  • DR Congo v Sao Tome
  • Eq. Guinea v Central African Republic

Second Round:

  • Djibouti or Eritrea v Tanzania
  • Burundi v Namibia
  • Angola v Botswana
  • South Sudan or Rwanda v Ethiopia
  • Kenya v Uganda
  • Eswatini or Mozambique v South Africa
  • Zambia v Malawi
  • Mauritania or Tunisia v Ghana
  • Niger or Benin v Morocco
  • The Gambia v Burkina Faso
  • Togo or Mali v Senegal
  • Guinea v Sierra Leone
  • Gabon v Guinea Bissau
  • DR Congo or Sao Tome v Cameroon
  • Egypt v Congo
  • Eq. Guinea or Central African Republic v Nigeria

NB: Three further knockout rounds will decide the two African qualifiers for the finals in Costa Rica.

African qualifiers for Under-17 Women’s World Cup India 2022:

First round:

  • Eritrea v South Sudan
  • Eq. Guinea v Kenya
  • DR Congo v Rwanda
  • Senegal v Sierra Leone
  • Benin v Mauritania

(1st Legs: 13-15 January 2022; 2nd Legs: 27-29 January 2022)

Second Round:

  • Cameroon v Eritrea or South Sudan
  • Zambia v Namibia
  • Djibouti v Burundi
  • Tanzania v Botswana
  • Eq. Guinea or Kenya v South Africa
  • Uganda v Ethiopia
  • Egypt v Guinea Bissau
  • Nigeria v DR Congo or Rwanda
  • Liberia v Guinea
  • Senegal or Sierra Leone v Ghana
  • Niger v Sao Tome
  • Benin or Mauritania v Morocco

NB: Two further knockout rounds will decide the three African qualifiers for the finals in India.