Hopes are high that this year’s first African Women’s Champions League can take the level of the game in Africa to an unprecedented level, both on the continent and around the world.
The line-up for the first final was established after Malabo King of Equatorial Guinea had finished last.
Malabo King defeated Amani FCF 1-0 in DR Congo, securing a 5-1 aggregate victory and qualifying from the Central African zone.
They are now joining AS FAR (Morocco), AS Mande (Mali), Hasaacas Ladies (Ghana), Sundowns Ladies (South Africa), River Angels (Nigeria), Vihiga Queens (Kenya) and Wadi Degla (Egypt) in the tournament in November .
“We want to see better African teams in the qualification phase for the 2023 World Cup,” said FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura of the tournament.
“We want Africa to do even better this time than in France two years ago. We are very committed to the development of women’s football.”
At the last Women’s World Cup in 2019, which France hosted, two African teams, Cameroon and Nigeria, made it to the round of 16 for the first time. The next tournament will take place in 2023.
The Confederation of African Football (Caf) announced the creation of the African Women’s Champions League last year to further develop the sport.
All but host Wadi Degla came through regional events – with Rivers Angels, Hasaacas Ladies and AS Mande from West Africa, AS Far from the north, Malabo King from the center and Vihiga Queens and Sundowns Ladies from the east and south.
“The competition gives us a great platform to showcase our talent when we go to Egypt,” said Vihiga Queens captain Enez Mango after qualifying last week.
“I know we have a lot of good players and this can be a way to play professionally with teams abroad.”
The Senegalese samoura were present in the final stages of the East and South Games last week, with Queens and Sundowns progressing.
“This is the first edition of the Caf Women’s Champions League, and with Cecafa (East African region) and other regions organizing it, it means we are taking the growth of women’s football (to) the next level,” she said last week.
“Women’s football in Africa is growing – and growing fast – and what I’ve seen in southern Africa with seven clubs and eight clubs taking part in Cecafa (all in qualifying) means more is being invested in football.”
In addition to developing women’s football, Caf also invests in sport, as does Fifa, which makes creating women’s football programs an incentive for member associations to get more money from the global organization of football.
“Fifa has invested US $ 1.5 billion in women’s football for the 2019-2022 cycle because we have a clear goal of having 60 million women footballers registered by 2026,” said Samoura.
The premiere of the African Women’s Champions League, in which two groups of four are played before the knockout phase, will take place in Egypt from November 5th to 19th.