WAFCON 2022: Cameroon, Senegal Secure World Cup Intercontinental Playoff Spots
Senegal and Cameroon advanced to play in the intercontinental play-offs for the Women’s World Cup after repechage wins over Tunisia and Botswana respectively at the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations in Morocco.
The Lionesses of Teranga, beaten by Zambia on penalties in the quarter-finals, secured their spot in New Zealand following a 4-2 shootout win over Tunisia on Sunday after the game in Casablanca ended goalless in normal time.
Senegal had the better of the early chances with Nguenar Ndiaye and Mama Diop both coming close, while Ella Kaabachi almost broke the deadlock for Tunisia but was denied by goalkeeper Ndeye Meïssa Diaw.
Tunisia substitute goalkeeper Nesrine Zizi stopped Hapsatou Malado Diallo’s penalty, but the West Africans triumphed with four successful penalties, while the North Africans missed one and had one smartly saved by Diaw.
The Player of the match and Senegal’s revelation, Nguenar Ndiaye, was delighted with a World Cup lifeline.
“We want to go. We are hungry. For most of us, if not all of us, this is the first time we’ve tasted a big competition,” she said.
“We’re going to rest well and then get back on track.”
In Sunday’s other game, Cameroon bounced back from defeat to rivals Nigeria by sealing their playoff spot following a narrow 1-0 win over Botswana in Rabat.
The dominant 10-woman Indomitable Lionesses needed a first-half stoppage time goal to defeat stubborn debutants Botswana.
Goalkeeper Sedilame Boseja was in fine form and produced three brilliant saves to deny Cameroon captain Ajara Nchout.
But on the stroke of half-time, the Inter Milan forward picked up the ball 25 meters out and turned before unleashing a ferocious strike into the bottom right-hand corner to beat Boseja.
The Lionesses were reduced to 10 players after substitute Fadimatou Aretouyap was sent-off for a dangerous tackle on Refilwe Tholakele.
Thokalele had a late chance but goalkeeper Ange Bawou was alert to prevent the Mares from restoring parity.
Cameroon held on to pick Africa’s second ticket to contest a ten-team intercontinental play-off in New Zealand next February.
Nchout, who was voted woman-of-the-match, is excited about the latest opportunity in New Zealand, where the final three qualifiers will be decided.
“We did not achieve our main objective which was to win the title, but this is football,” she said.
“We were disappointed not to pick an automatic ticket but we now have a chance to play in the playoffs. We must prepare by working on some of the mistakes here and go there to try and qualify for the World Cup.”