by TINTSWALO BALOYI
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – DEBUTANTES Morocco and Zambia have received baptism of fire, South Africa suffered late heartbreak and Nigeria secured the only point thus far.
It has been a disastrous campaign, littered by ill-discipline, for African teams at the Women’s World Cup.
These belegured continental representatives have a mountain to climb, with formidable opponents lurking in the second round of fixtures at the premier football tournament Australia and New Zealand are co-hosting.
A miracle was expected from Morocco after the men’s team became the first African side to qualify for the semifinals of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, late in 2023.
However, the tamely Atlas Lionesses came unstuck, 6-0, pawless and toothless against Germany, in a Group H encounter at the Melbourne Rectangular Stadium.
With their tails down, the North Africans next face South Korea in Adelaide on July 30, under pressure to recover from their half-a-dozen goal disaster against the Europeans.
If the roarless Lionesses approach the game teemley again, they are up for another mauling at the paws of the Koreans.
Zambia also suffered a miserable debut, losing 5-0 to 2011 tournament champions, Japan, at Waikato Stadium.
Lacking glitter, the Copper Queens suffered the ignominy of finishing the Group C match embarrassingly with no attempt at goal.
Up next for the Southern Africans is Spain at Waikato on Wednesday. For her hot head, goalkeeper Catherine Musonda will be serving a suspension after her sending off against Spain.
Continental champions, South Africa, let go a lead to succumb to a 2-1 defeat to Sweden at the Wellington Regional Stadium. The Swedes won the Group G contest 2-1.
The goal scored by Hildah Magaia for Banyana Banyana in the 48th minute is the only one so far registered by an African team Down Under.
South Africa, whose preparations were derailed by money squabbles, face Argentina next at the Dunedin Stadium on Friday.
It is not amiss for South Africa to flop on the global stage. This country is the first host of the men’s World Cup to be knocked out of the Group stage, in 2010.
They are so used to being sacked in the morning they do not care anymore. It is a beleaguered yet resource-rich country that has endorsed mediocrity as a standard. It is so nauseating and angering.
Meanwhile, the first point gained by an African team has gone to Nigeria’s Super Falcons in their goalless draw against Canada at the Melbourne Rectangular in Group B.
On their day, Nigeria, male or female, can beat any side globally.
Nonetheless, Nigerian sides on the world stage are an arrogant shwabuckling bunch with a reputation of playing for fun rather than results.
Captain and goalkeeper, Chiamaka Nnadozie, produced a Player of the Match performance.
Her second-half penalty save was the highlight of the game.
“I think she’s one of the best young goalkeepers in the world right now,” Nigeria coach, Randy Waldrum, said at the post-match conference.
Nigeria will play Ireland on Monday in Brisbane.
The West Africans will miss the services of teenager Deborah Ajibola Abiodun, the first player to be sent off this tournament.
The highest ranked result in the Women’s World Cup for an African team is a quarter-final berth by Nigeria, in 1999.
– CAJ News