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WOMEN'S FOOTBALL

Women’s World Cup: The five best African players in the group stages

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For the first time in the history of the FIFA Women’s World Cup™, Africa will have three representatives in the round of 16: Morocco, Nigeria and South Africa. 

CAFOnline takes a look at five players that were exceptional in driving their sides to the knockout stage of the competition.

1 – Chiamaka Nnadozie, Goalkeeper – Nigeria

She was the youngest goalkeeper at the 2019  FIFA Women’s World Cup in France, Chiamaka Nnadozie has now become a huge asset for the Super Eagles.

The captain of the Super Falcons was instrumental in keeping a clean sheet against Canada in a 0-0 where she saved a Christine Sinclair penalty.

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A stellar performance that saw her walk away with the “Player of the Match” trophy in the opening tie of the Super Falcons.

2 – Hilda Magaia, Striker – South Africa

A double goalscorer in the TotalEnergies CAF Women’s Africa Cup of Nations, Morocco 2022, Hilda Magaia, who plays her football in the Korea Republic for Sejong Sportstoto has formed a lethal partnership with Thembi Kgatlana.

A serial goalscorer of note, the Dennilton native put up impressive performances against Sweden and Italy and was instrumental in the goals scored.

3 – Thembi Kgatlana, Forward – South Africa

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Side-lined for almost a year due to injury, South Africa’s number 11 is really stamping her authority as a goal poacher in this FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Inseparable from her attacking teammate Hildah Magaia, the 2018 CAF Women’s Footballer of the year is high in confidence and it is showing in her performance.

The speedy forward has terrorised defenders in New Zealand and will be key for coach Desiree Ellis against Netherlands in the round of 16.

4- Ibtissam Jraidi, Forward – Morocco

At 30, Ibtissam Jraidi’s experience has been key in Morocco’s debut at the FIFA Women’s World Cup.  Against the Republic of Korea, the former AS FAR star, who now dons the colours of

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Saudi club Al Ahly gave her nation their first ever victory at a FIFA Women’s World Cup when they won 1-0.

5- Anissa Lahmari, Midfielder – Morocco

The name of Anissa Lahmari will now be associated with that of a historical moment – the qualification of Morocco for the round of 16 at the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

The star midfielder perfectly followed Ghizlane’s missed penalty by firing home for the all-important goal and will be key in Morocco’s fairy tale run at the global showpiece.

CAFOnline also pays tribute to Zambia’s Barbra Banda, who scored the 1000th goal in the history of the FIFA Women’s World Cup through a spot kick in a match the Copper Queens won 3-1 over Costa Rica.

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-CAF

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

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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WOMEN'S FOOTBALL

‘It shall be showers of goals’, vows Flamingos ahead of Liberia clash

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Head Coach Bankole Olowookere is confident that the Nigeria U17 girls, Flamingos, will not take their feet off the pedal when they take on their Liberian counterparts in a FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup final qualifying match in Abuja on Friday.

“We are battle-ready for the match on Friday. The girls are raring to go because they want to go to the World Cup. They are already dreaming of flying to the Dominican Republic.

“There is so much excitement in camp, and they are self-assured. However, I have warned them that it is never over until it is over. There should be no display of over-confidence on the pitch. We must approach the match like the first leg was a drawn game.”

Nigeria won the first leg 4-1 in Monrovia on Sunday, with 11-goal qualifying series revelation Harmony Chidi, Shakirat Moshood, Peace Effiong and substitute Blessing Ifitezue banging in the goals for the Flamingos. The hosts got their consolation goal off a penalty awarded with five minutes left of the encounter at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex in Paynesville.

The Flamingos will take part in the FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup for the seventh time once they cross Friday’s hurdle.

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They featured at the inaugural edition in New Zealand in 2008, and subsequently at Trinidad and Tobago 2010, Azerbaijan 2012, Costa Rica 2014, Jordan 2016 and India 2022, where they won the bronze medals.  

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