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WOMEN'S FOOTBALL

Ahead of Women’s World Cup clash: The ties that bind Morocco and France

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Frenchman, Reynald Pedros is Morocco's coach and has a couple of his players in French clubs.

France and Morocco have little left to learn about each other ahead of Tuesday’s meeting in Adelaide in the round of 16 of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023.

Bound by history, the two nations have strong footballing ties too. Summing up the relationship that exists between them on the pitch, France left-back Sakina Karchaoui recalled a very recent and high-profile encounter between the two: the semi-final between Les Bleus and the Atlas Lions at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™.

“It was a match that was full of emotion for the two countries,” she said. “There’s no animosity between the two, anything but. We came together through sport then and we hope we can generate the same level of feeling now.”

The French defender is a symbol of the close links between the two teams. Proud to represent Les Bleues, she was born in southern France to Moroccan parents. “It’s a very emotional occasion, for me especially, but we have to switch off from all that on the pitch. We are elite athletes after all.”

Five of Reynald Pedros’ Morocco squad play their club football in France, among them Anissa Lahmari, the hero of the hour against Colombia. The midfielder runs out for Guingamp in the French top flight and also played for Les Bleues at youth level. “Anissa is a friend,” said Karchaoui, “I’ve kept in touch with her and I’m happy she’s in the team because she deserves it.”

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When they arrive at Adelaide’s Hindmarsh Stadium on Tuesday, both sets of players will have good reason to share a chat and a hug or two. Though she is keen not to “pay any attention” to her opponents on the day, the France midfielder will no doubt catch up before the game with Morocco forward Kenza Chapelle, a former team-mate at French Division 1 club Fleury FC.

Pedros has a few familiar faces to meet up with too, with several of his former Lyon charges appearing in the France line-up: Wendie Renard, Selma Bacha, Amel Majri and Eugenie Le Sommer.

“I had two years with him at Lyon and we won some titles together,” said Le Sommer. “He’s played a big part in my career and it’s special to see him again at the World Cup, especially with Morocco and at this stage of the competition. It’s something I could never imagined.”

In this most Francophone of meetings, there are connections everywhere. Take Herve Renard’s team of assistant coaches, led by David Ducci, who have worked in Moroccan women’s football and know pretty much all there is to know about it.

Les Bleues coach also knows the Moroccan national team set-up well too, having taken charge of the Atlas Lions between 2016 and 2019, a tenure that included an appearance at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™. So strong is his attachment to them, in fact, that he made it clear he would be supporting his former players when they took on his native France in the semi-finals at Qatar 2022.

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“It feels like we’re going to a big family reunion,” said Karchaoui.

With a place in the quarter-finals of the Women’s World Cup at stake, it is a reunion that promises to be a very exciting one.

-Caf

 

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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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