The World Cup was one to remember for Africa

The 2023 Fifa Women’s World Cup is drawing to a close after four weeks of exhilarating, emotional, and galvanising action in Australia/New Zealand.

It will go down in the history books as one of the finest tournaments for all African teams.
Spain and England will be closing the curtain as they will battle it out in the finale, that will see new champions being crowned. Kick-off time is at 12pm (SA time).

South Africa, Nigeria, Morocco, and Zambia all held their own and exceeded expectations when least expected at a world stage. Despite all African nations fancied to not make it out of their respective groups before the tournament even started, three of the four African teams became the dark horses by advancing to the knockout stages of the competition at the expense of the top dogs.

They captured the hearts of many with their singing in loud voices, fighting spirit, and being able to defy the odds against some of the best teams in the world.
Without a shadow of a doubt, based on the euphoric display, African teams will be expected to shine and assemble strong and competitive squads at the 2027 Women’s World Cup.
Here are some of the highlights of how African teams fared:

South Africa:
Banyana Banyana have always played second fiddle to their male counterparts Bafana Bafana – even though they always deliver better results on the world stage.
For instance, on the eve of flying out to Australia and New Zealand, Banyana were beset by financial disputes and were at loggerheads with the national association, Safa.
Despite all the noise, the likes of Lebohang Ramalepe, Kaylin Swart and Kholosa Biyana raised their hands and stepped up when the nation needed them the most, as they were some of the overlooked players to produce solid performances in their history making.
Should Safa win their bid to host the next world cup, Banyana will be expected bounce back a lot better and stronger on home soil.

Like Banyana, the Super Falcons were in one of the toughest groups in the competition, alongside co-hosts Australia and tournament favourites Canada.
Even though they were third best, the Nigerians went on to secure a place in the round of 16 when they stunned Australia, held Canada and Ireland to a draw – making it out of the group without suffering a defeat.
Their best moment at the tournament must have been when Barcelona striker Asisat Oshoala had an instant impact on the game from the bench, where she scored the winning goal in their hard-fought 3-2 win against Australia.

Morocco had a subtle and onerous mandate before the start of the tournament, which was to pick up the baton from the men’s national team that made its historic run to the 2022 World Cup semi-finals in Qatar in December.
Apart from being hammered 6-0 by Germany in their opening group stage match, they redeemed themselves by winning back-to-back matches against Colombia and South Korea to get to the last 16.

Although they were eliminated in the group stages, Zambia bowed out of the competition with pride after winning their final Group C match with a 3-1 victory over Costa Rica.
It was also Zambia’s first appearance at the women’s world cup, and they will look to build up from their last performance heading to the upcoming tournaments.
The lows and talking points at the tournament:
The Women’s World Cup has been an intriguing viewing, as powerhouses were unprecedently dumped out early in the tournament, with plenty of minnows causing an upset.
It ended in agony for the likes of Germany, Canada, and a star-studded Brazil side that was led by legend Marta, who is likely to hang up her boots.

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