WAFCON 2022: Morocco’s Najat Badri Eyes AFCON Trophy, World Cup Ticket
Morocco midfielder Najat Badri is relishing the prospect of qualifying for the Women’s World Cup for the first time after progressing unbeaten to the quarter-finals at the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (Wafcon).
The hosts beat Senegal 1-0 on Friday to secure the top spot in Group A, and the Atlas Lionesses will now face a third-placed finisher from Group B or C in the last eight.
All four Wafcon semi-finalists will be assured of places at next year’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
“The quarter-final will not be easy, but we are 90 minutes away from Morocco’s historic World Cup qualification,” Badri said.
“It would be great for the players, the federation, the whole country.
“We will do everything for that and to win the title. The cup must stay at home.”
Ghizlane Chebbak’s 55th-minute penalty was enough to beat Senegal, who were also assured of a quarter-final berth before their meeting in Rabat, and make it three wins from three for Morocco.
Senegal coach Mame Moussa Cisse had made 10 changes to his side, with some enforced after three players were ruled out with Covid-19.
“We prefer to keep the performance from this game and not the result,” he said.
“I would like to congratulate my team considering that we suffered some positive cases in our camp. We shall take lessons from this loss.”
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The West Africans will face the winners of Group B in the last eight, which could be Zambia, Tunisia, and Cameroon.
Group B concludes on Saturday, with Cameroon playing Tunisia in Casablanca and Zambia taking on Togo in Rabat (both games 20:00 BST).
While Morocco and Senegal are now 90 minutes away from a ticket to the World Cup, even if they suffer defeat they will have another chance to reach the finals.
Two beaten Wafcon quarter-finalists will enter a 10-team intercontinental play-off to decide the final three qualifiers for Australia and New Zealand in 2023.
Burkinabe and Crested Cranes exit
Meanwhile, 10-woman Burkina Faso and Uganda were both eliminated from the tournament after a 2-2 draw in their final Group A match, with all the goals coming before half-time.
Uganda took the lead when Mariam Ouattara failed to keep out a low shot from Margret Kunihira, and Burkina Faso defender Madinatou Rouamba was then sent off in the 17th minute.
A solo effort from Adama Congo drew the West Africans’ level, but Sandra Nabweteme put the Crested Cranes back ahead from outside the box.
However, Uganda keeper Daisy Nakaziro fumbled a cross and the ball diverted in off Naomie Adele Kabre to secure a point for the Burkinabe.