It’s no news that women football all over the globe is now something that the investors, fans, and the media want to invest their time and money on.
The massive growth the round leather game has brought mankind economic wise which the women and men world is currently enjoying, unlike when the investors and administrators don’t want to have anything doing with women football.
What also gives credence and validation to the growth of women football in the world now is what the likes of Italy, Germany, France, England, particularly Spain and other big women football playing countries are doing with their women leagues and the national teams bring to fore on how women football is gradually on a high pedestal.
Albeit that, we can say women football in Africa right from its emergence has been on a steady growth.
Despite that initially, the sport was seen as male participant sport and women were never given a chance until the 70’s.
Although during this period male football administrators across Africa were hugely uninterested in supporting the development of women’s football in Africa.
In this piece, we will look at the emergence and transition of women football in Africa.
Women football in Africa isn’t known for building and investing hugely in organized female’s football right from high school or at the grassroots level where female players get to grow and actually go on to become a top player for their country.
In spite of all of the disadvantage and unpalatable story about women football in Africa, two African countries Nigeria and Ghana were able to showcase what they’ve got in stock to the world at the 1999 Women World Cup in the USA, representing the whole of Africa.
Although women football is seen as one which is facing several challenges during its development stages. Yet, despite all odds, both countries punched above their weight as Nigeria went all the way at the World Cup far back in 1999 to the quarter-finals round and narrowly missed beating a Brazilian side led by their biggest female player Marta.
Prior to the 1999 World Cup in USA, in 1998 CAF did introduced an official African Women’s Championship, following two unofficial versions of the tournament earlier in 90’s. The host country Nigeria won it and that kicked start the beginning of a stretch of five consecutive titles in the competition and they took that form to the world cup.
However, we also cannot forget so quickly that despite little or no support from officials in terms of monetary aspect for women football, yet over 28 clubs in Nigeria were already playing football as at 1989, more so in South Africa were women football began in the 1990s.
After the emergence of women football in Africa, the investors and the administrators on the continent realized the full potential of women football and why they needed to support the development of each countries, which helps in building the future for women game and long-lasting legacy for years to come.
No doubt the year is here, as we are getting to see women football grow into bigger transition despite the challenges, as it gives a great opportunity to every young African female who wants to play football to the highest level regardless of their level and country.
Equatorial Guinea – (Nzelang)
Most importantly, the transition started with the Equatorial Guinea women national team.
The Nzelang team played their first international match on the continent against Gabon which they lost, and since then they’ve continue to wax stronger in making sure they break the dominance of the Super Falcons, the robust football play of Ghana, Cameroon, and South Africa.
In 2007, they got their own fair share of opportunity in playing qualifier games for the Olympic against the Bayana Bayana of South Africa which they lost 4-2 on aggregate in both legs.
In 2008, they hosted the AWCON, they went undefeated in their group which featured powerhouse like Cameroon, coming into prominent Congo side, and a well-drilled Mali side and they went on to defeat the Super Falcons in the semi-finals and they eventually won the championship defeating the Bayana Bayana.
The Nzelang made their World Cup debut in 2011, but they weren’t experienced enough to perform well as they lost all their group matches against the big side in women football, they also made history to be the sixth African women side to qualify for the World Cup.
Algeria – (Fennecs)
The transition also got to the Algerian national team, although the Fennecs had been involved in women football since 1962. However, their first and well recognized International match was against France which they lost 14 goals to nil.
The Fennecs has never qualified for the World Cup, but the transition in women football has helped them in qualifying for the AWCON in 2004, 2006, 2010, 2014 and 2018, all finishing in the group stage.
But then to some extent, those experiences helped them grow in their future quest in achieving success.
Prior to all of the AWCON years, the Fennecs had played some football tournament like the All African Games in Nigeria, which really prepared them well for that development in their football. In 2014, they came to fore at the AWCON where they played well despite exiting at the group stage due to lack of luck and inexperience.
However, despite all of their failure in competitions attended, the Fennecs have shown that Algerian women football has what it takes to be a big success with more hard work and long term approach in planning.
Zambia – (Shepoloppo)
Women football has also been in existence since 1983 in Zambia when the U20 and the national team was created with the federation backing them up with money. However, in that period, Zambia women football hasn’t got to the top.
In 2009, Zambia has gotten over 100 women team for players under the age of 16, 112 youth women team and the women league was also established with school competition.
Zambia women football got into a new start in 1994 when they played their first qualification match for the 1995 FIFA World Cup against South Africa which they lost 6-2 on aggregate.
In 2009, the Shepoloppo were ranked 92nd in the world, which was a big testament to the improvement in their football despite playing just two FIFA recognized matches.
Their ranking dropped drastically in 2011 and 2012 when they failed to make qualification for the World Cup.
Kenya – (Harambe Starlets)
The year 1985 was a big year for Kenyan women football also being the year women football was really given enough attention. 1993 was even better and bigger when the Kenya women football federation created a national team that went on to represent them in international tournaments.
Albeit all of that, they never stopped in improving their football knowing fully well that many African teams are also improving their football in other to try and put a stop to the dominance of countries like Nigeria, Cameroon, Ghana, and South Africa, who are the biggest women football nations in Africa.
In 2012, the improvement showed on their world ranking with 135th and 31st in Africa. However, it could have been so wonderful had it been they qualified for the African Women’s Championship.
We could say with some of the things we’ve seen with the aforementioned teams, it definitely a testament to the fact that women football have been on a big transition in Africa.
Perhaps if this trend continue, the growth of African women team might one day lunch an assault in the World Cup, but before then there are a lot of works to be done.
FIFA Congress To Decide Future Host Of FIFA Women’s World Cup™
Council assigns FIFA Women’s World Cup™ hosting decision to the football governing body’s Congress; also approves financial statements for 2020 and budget for 2022.
Meeting by video conference, the Council conferred to the Congress the decision to award Women’s World Cup™ hosting rights.
Until now, the decision has been taken by the FIFA Council, most recently in June 2020 when the hosting rights for the 2023 edition were awarded to Australia and New Zealand.
As the football governing body seeks to raise the profile of the women’s game, this represents a significant step to bring the Women’s World Cup in line with the flagship men’s competition.
The proposal will be put forward for a final decision by the 71st FIFA Congress, which will meet virtually (for the second time) on 21 May.
International match calendar and release of players.
The FIFA Council received a report on the international football situation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Bureau of the Council had extended to April 2021 the temporary amendments to the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players regarding the release of players for international duty, and FIFA, the confederations, and its member associations remain in dialogue with national authorities about exemptions from quarantine rules for national team players.
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The FIFA Council recognized that the highest priority in football is the health of the players, and therefore the discussion around the release of players for international duty must maintain this perspective, especially as the public health situation develops around the world.
2020 financials and 2022 budget
The Council also approved the organization’s Annual Report, which contains the financial statements for 2020 and the budget for 2022.
The FIFA Annual Report 2020 focuses on the role played by world football’s governing body in the fight against COVID-19, primarily through the unprecedented COVID-19 Relief Plan, which has made available USD 1.5 billion to support FIFA’s 211 member associations and the confederations through times of financial uncertainty.
The FIFA Annual Report 2020 is available on the official site.
FIFA Arab Cup 2021™
The Council approved the competition regulations for the FIFA Arab Cup 2021, confirming the match schedule and draw procedure for the competition taking place in Qatar from 1 to 18 December this year.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Fédération Internationale de Football Association.
Paul Onuachu: A Victim Of Tactical Deficiency
Ever wondered why Genk forward Paul Onuachu has always been a prolific figure for his club and find it hard to replicate that form with the Super Eagles when invited?
The Nigeria international has been in awesome form for the Blue-White, scoring 26 goals in the Jupiler League this season for Genk, while his scoring prowess at his club has been a contrast to his form with the national team under Gernot Rohr scoring just once in 9 games despite being a top performer at club level.
Ahead of the AFCON qualifier doubleheader against Lesotho and the Benin Republic, Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr named his 23 man list with the inform former Midtjylland forward listed as one of the standby players.
Onuachu’s struggles with the Super Eagles in previous games he featured is quite baffling, considering the excitement that greeted his first appearance with the national team plus the impressive form he’s currently in.
The job of every manager is to find a suitable position or fashion out tactics that would be suitable for their players in other to blend with the team approaches to every match. In Onuachu’s case, he hasn’t been fortunate enough to blend in with Rohr’s tactics. While at club level, Midtjylland plays to his strength.
However, due to Napoli’s players been restricted from traveling, the Genk forward made it through the backdoor to replace Gernot Rohr’s number one forward Victor Osimhen who hasn’t really hit the ground running with the ‘Partenopei‘, but when with the Eagles, he never fails to deliver.
It’s no doubt that the lanky striker has failed to deliver in his previous games, disappointing the ever-demanding Nigerian football enthusiasts with unforgiving backlashes from the fans. However, his prolific prowess with his club suggests otherwise and consistently makes a case for him to be integrated into the team with a different tactical approach that suits his style.
The era of a target man may have been long gone in football due to the advent of new tactics that have brought about a series of changes in the game. With managers preferring to go with a fast, skillful, or makeshift winger- kind of striker, instead of a target man.
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Looking at how Paul Onuachu plays with Genk upfront shows he’s one of the best target men in football, despite been perceived by many as a slow and old-fashioned kind of forward. However, John van den Bromm has been able to carve out a tactic that suits him which has been evident with his prolific form irrespective of his style of play.
Onuachu’s Super Eagle future might be on the knife-edge with Gernot Rohr not finding the right tactics that suit the Genk forward, especially with him not been consider as the go-to man despite his blistering runs of form in Belgium.
In recent times Rohr’s philosophy of vibrant attacking football with an emphasis on passing in the final third which requires the expertise of brilliant players to implement such tactics hasn’t really favored him.
Having a player in the mold of Onuachu gives Rohr another tactical option and an alternative style of play should the initial approach fails to work as expected, but the German tactician hasn’t really taken advantage of what the man could offer with a different opponent.
Onuachu’s presence in the Super Eagles team should be an added advantage in terms of variety when the normal approach of the manager fails. With an in-form striker on the bench, it could prove valuable, but in the former Midtjylland’s case, Gernot Rohr doesn’t seem to see him as a player that has a future with the national team.
Players in the mold of the Nigerian are quite physically imposing as the point man, though they may not offer the team excellent off-the-ball movement in some cases. However, they often find a way to provide an opportunity which the team could utilize when attacking or defending.
Onuachu’s inability to show a good turn of pace and smart footwork may have been one of the deficiencies that are affecting his chances of blending perfectly into the team.
However, the job of a manager is to help players blend in perfectly, and that’s exactly what Gernot Rohr should be doing. Not only for Onuachu but for every other player who are always finding it hard to replicate club form with the National Team.