ACCRA, October 21, 2018 – Nigeria will begin the defence of their Women’s Africa Cup of a Nations title on 18 November with a tough clash against familiar foes South Africa after both sides were drawn in the same group for the 11th edition of the tournament which is set to take centre stage from 17 November – 1 December in Ghana.
It would be the fourth time both sides are meeting in the group stage of the competition and the Super Falcons have the historical edge having won in 2006, 2008 and 2010. However, both sides are favourites to progress to the last four from Group B which also has Zambia and Kenya – both of whom will be making only their second appearance.
Meanwhile Ghana, who are looking to host and win, seem poised to make a statement of intent in the tournament’s opening match on 17 November when they take on Algeria at the Accra Sports Stadium. The Black Queens have also been drawn against Mali and Cameroon in Group A.
Group A will be based in Accra, the host country’s capital, while the coastal city of Cape Coast will welcome Group B teams.
Ceremony The 11th edition of the biggest women’s football showpiece in Africa was launched with a colourful Draw ceremony held at Mövenpick Ambassador Hotel, Accra on Sunday. Although it began 30 minutes behind schedule, the event which featured spoken word poetry and choreography proved to be worth the wait.
President of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), Ahmad Ahmad graced the occasion alongside the Sports Minister of Ghana Honourable Isaac Asiamah, the Chairman of the Normalisation Committee of the Ghana Football Association (GFA) Dr Kofi Amoah, and the chairperson of the Local Organising Committee Honourable Freda Prempeh.
During her welcome address, Prempeh declared that “Ghana is ready to showcase the finest of African women football to the world.” She also assured participating teams of the country’s hospitality, urging them to “eat Ghana, drink Ghana and wear Ghana”.
Legends Ghana women’s football legends, Adjoa Bayor and Memunatu Sulemana assisted with Sunday’s Draw, which was conducted Anthony Bafoe, the Deputy Secretary General of CAF.
Bayor, who was named African Women’s Player of the Year in 2003, has three FIFA Women’s World Cup and six Women’s AFCON appearances to her name. Former goalkeeper Sulemana appeared in the same number of World Cups as Bayor but featured in one more Women’s AFCON.
President of CAF, Ahmad Ahmad was present at the Draw ceremony. (Photo CAF)
Coverage For the first time in the history of the tournament, the Draw for the Women’s AFCON was shown LIVE on TV in several countries across Africa and also streamed LIVE on social media so as to capture the rest of the world. Even the FIFA Women’s World Cup Twitter handle @FIFAWWC appreciated the coverage.
”Great ceremony this evening. And thank you for the stream so we could join in around the world. Good Luck everyone!”
France The top three teams from this year’s Women’s Africa Cup of Nations, which is being held in Ghana for the first time, will represent Africa at next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup in France.
Fixtures The group stage comes to an end on 24 November, after which two teams from each group will progress to the semi-finals scheduled for 27 November. The third place match will be played on 30 November, then the winners of the tournament will be crowned on 1 December.