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WOMEN'S FOOTBALL

Tagnaout, Chebbak headline Morocco squad for Women’s World Cup debut

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Top stars Ghizlane Chebbak and Fatima Tagnaout are among the 28 players named in Morocco’s squad for their debut at the FIFA Women’s World Cup next month.

Saudi Arabia-based talented striker Ibtissam Jraidi was also included in coach Reynald Pedros’ preliminary squad for the tournament to be held in Australia & New Zealand.

Eight players from local giants AS FAR were also named in the squad highligting the contrubtion of the club that forms the core of the Moroccan women’s national team.

The Frenchman unveiled the eagerly awaited list on Monday and the country’s key players will be part of the preparation camp for the upcoming global competition.

The unveiling of the squad marks a significant milestone for women’s football in Morocco, as the nation eagerly anticipates their team’s performance on the global stage.

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The selected players represent a mix of domestic and international talent, with representatives from clubs in France, England, Spain, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, and the Netherlands.

Among them is Jraidi, the top scorer in the last CAF Women’s Champions League, and Tagnaout, who was crowned the best player of the competition.

The Atlas Lionesses can also rely on the leadership of their captain, Chebbak, who was named the best player of the previous CAF TotalEnergies Women’s Africa Cup of Nations.

The preparation period presents an opportunity for players like Rosella Ayane, who has had limited playing time with Tottenham, to improve their form and make their mark.

Following friendlies against Italy and Switzerland, Coach Pedros will face the challenging task of naming his final squad.

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Morocco will face Italy on July 1, followed by another friendly match against Switzerland on July 5.

The French coach will need to drop five players from the squad, whittle the team down to 23 players and communicate the final list to FIFA by 10 July.

Making their first-ever appearance in the Women’s World Cup, the Atlas Lionesses are set to face tough opponents in the group stage.

Germany, South Korea, and Colombia will challenge Morocco at the group stage of the tournament.

The team will kick off their campaign against Germany on July 24 at AAMI Park in Melbourne, Australia, followed by a match against South Korea on July 30 at Hindmarsh Stadium in Adelaide.

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Their final group stage game will be against Colombia on August 3 at HBF Park in Perth.

Morocco’s preliminary squad for the 2023 Women’s World Cup

Goalkeepers: Ines Arouaissa (AS Cannes, France), Khadija Errmichi (AS FAR), Assia Zouhair (SCCM, Morocco)

Defenders: Hanane Ait El Haj (AS FAR), Nouhaila Benzina (AS FAR), Siham Boukhami (AS FAR), Ghizlane Chhiri (AS FAR), Nesryne El Chad (Lille, France), Rkia Mazrouai (Sporting de Charlerois, Belgium), Yasmin Mrabet (FC Levante Las Planas, Spain), Zineb Redouani (AS FAR), Sabah Seghir (Napoli, Italy)

Midfielders: Ghizlane Chebbak (AS FAR), Najat Badri (AS FAR), Anissa Lamari (Guingamp, France), Sarah Kassi (Fleury, France), Élodie Nakkach (Servette Geneva, Switzerland)

Forwards: Salma Amani (FC Metz, France), Rosella Ayane (Tottenham, England), Anissa Belkasmi (US Orleans, France), Sofia Bouftini (RS Berkane, Morocco), Kenza Chapelle (FC Nantes, France), Fatima Gharbi (CE Europa, Spain), Samya Hassani (SC Telstar VVNH, Netherlands), Ibtissam Jraidi (Al-Ahli Saudi Football Club, Saudi Arabia), Sakina Ouzraoui Diki (Club Bruges, Belgium), Imane Saoud (Servette Geneva, Switzerland), Fatima Tagnaout (AS FAR)

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Morocco match schedule

July 24, 2023

Germany – Morocco, 9:30 a.m. (Rabat time), AAMI Park, Melbourne, Australia

July 30, 2023

South Korea – Morocco 5:30 a.m. (Rabat time), Hindmarsh Stadium, Adelaide, Australia

August 03, 2023

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Morocco – Colombia 11 a.m. (Rabat time), HBF Park, Perth, Australia

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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WOMEN'S FOOTBALL

Colombia 2024: Danjuma invites 32 as countdown begins to Final Tournament

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Flying Eagles, Falconets To Resume Camp On Thursday -

With just eight weeks to their first match of the FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup Colombia 2024, Head Coach Chris Musa Danjuma has called up four goalkeepers, eight defenders, eight midfielders and 12 strikers to a training camp in the Federal Capital, Abuja in the first phase of preparation for the global tournament.

Team captain Oluchi Ohaegbulem is top of the list, with first-choice goalkeeper Faith Omilana, defenders Shukurat Oladipo and Comfort Folorunsho, midfielders Chinyere Kalu, Adoo Yina and Rofiat Imuran, and forwards Janet Akekoromowei, Flourish Sabastine and Aminat Bello also called.

Nigeria, a fixture at the FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup finals since the tournament began as an U19 event in Canada 22 years ago, will contend with three-time winners Germany, Asian powerhouse Korea Republic and South American representatives Venezuela in group D of the competition scheduled for three Colombian cities, 31st August – 22nd September.

All the invited are expected at Serob Legacy Hotel, Wuye, Abuja on Sunday, 7th July.

ALL THE INVITED PLAYERS:

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Goalkeepers: Anderline Mgbechi (Delta Queens); Rachael Unachukwu (Nasarawa Amazons); Faith Omilana (Naija Ratels); Shukura Bakare (Nasarawa Amazons)

Defenders: Oluchi Ohaegbulem (Nasarawa Amazons); Jumoke Alani (Nasarawa Amazons); Shukurat Oladipo (FC Robo Queens); Oluwabunmi Oladeji (Naija Ratels); Folashade Adegbemile (Delta Queens); Chidera Okenwa (Delta Queens); Comfort Folorunsho (Edo Queens); Taiwo Lawal

Midfielders: Adoo Yina (Nasarawa Amazons); Olushola Shobowale (Nasarawa Amazons); Aminat Folorunsho (Rivers Angels); Chioma Olise (Edo Queens); Chinyere Kalu (Nasarawa Amazons); Joy Igbokwe (Naija Ratels); Rofiat Imuran (Stade de Reims, France); Zikora Agama (Naija Ratels)

Forwards: Delight Nwosu (Dannaz Ladies); Adaobi Okah (Remo Stars Ladies); Chiamaka Okwuchukwu (Rivers Angels); Chinaza Agoh (Delta Queens); Mary Nkpa (Heartland Queens); Chiamaka Osigwe (Edo Queens); Janet Akekoromowei (Asisat Academy); Mary Offor (Adamawa Queens); Flourish Sabastine (Stade de Reims, France); Sharon Ulumma (Heartland Queens); Aminat Bello (Otero College, USA); Reilly Adebowale (Bohemian FC, Republic of Ireland)   

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WOMEN'S FOOTBALL

Nigeria’s Flamingos drawn against debuting hosts in FIFA U-17 World Cup

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The Flamingos, Nigeria’s U-17 women’s football team have been drawn against hosts, Dominican Republic for the finals of the Women’s U-17 World Cup holding from 16 October to 3 November in two host cities of Santo Domingo  and Santiago de los Caballeros.

 Both Nigeria and Dominican Republic are drawn in Group A along with Ecuador and New Zealand.  In Group B are Spain, USA, Korea Republic and Colombia.

Group C has  Korea DPR, Mexico, Kenya and England while those competing in Group D are  Japan , Poland, Brazil and Zambia.

The hosts will make their debut in the competition on 16 October against Ecuador in Santiago de los Caballeros, with New Zealand and Nigeria completing Group A.

Herrera, the first Dominican woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest, had a special message for her compatriots taking part in the World Cup. She said: “I am the living example that you can achieve your dreams. So, keep up the good work. I am looking forward to seeing those amazing games.”

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Reigning champions Spain, meanwhile, will kick off their campaign in Group B, in which they will face USA, Korea Republic and Colombia, runners-up last time around.

“The advice to all the players that will participate here is to be confident and go live your dream. ¡Y Buena suerte!” said Flores, who took part in this tournament two years ago in India.

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WOMEN'S FOOTBALL

Dominican Republic 2024:Flamingos land in the Dominican Republic!

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Nigeria’s U17 girls, Flamingos, have secured their ticket to the 8th FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup finals to be staged in the Dominican Republic later this year, after a 2-0 defeat of their Liberian counterparts at the MKO Abiola National Stadium, Abuja on Friday.

Victory took the aggregate tally to 6-1 in favour of Nigeria, with extraordinary poacher Harmony Chidi setting a record of 13 goals in a qualifying series that will be difficult to equal in years to come. She had 11 goals before kick-off, but netted the two goals of the evening to take Nigeria’s total of the series to a whopping 25. Central African Republic fell by a dozen goals while Burkina Faso fell 1-7 on aggregate.

Her first came after only four minutes when she sped past the Liberian defence to toe-poke the ball beyond the flailing arms of goalkeeper Makula Konneh from a cross by Shakirat Moshood.

A goal feast was expected, but this did not happen, as Peace Effiong had a close call in the 17th and Moshood rocked the crossbar a minute after from 20 yards. Moshood also missed from close range with 10 minutes left of the first half.

In the 56th minute, Moshood blasted beyond the goalpost when faced with Konneh, but Harmony Chidi made sure of her brace seven minutes later when she lashed the ball beyond Konneh’s reach as Nigeria seized the ball from a defensive slip-up by the visitors.

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The 8th FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup finals will be staged in the cities of Santiago de los Caballeros and Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, 16th October – 3rd November.

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