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WOMEN'S FOOTBALL

Sweden hold off Japan fightback to reach Women’s World Cup semis

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FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023 - Quarter Final - Japan v Sweden - Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand - August 11, 2023 Sweden's Amanda Ilestedt celebrates scoring their first goal REUTERS/Hannah Mckay

Sweden held off a late Japan fightback to reach the semi-finals of the Women’s World Cup for the fifth time with a 2-1 win at Eden Park on Friday, leaving the tournament without a former winner in the last four.

Five days after ousting four-time champions the United States in the last 16, the Swedes dominated the 2011 title winners for most of the evening to set up a semi-final against Spain at the same stadium on Tuesday.

Defender Amanda Ilestedt gave Sweden the lead with her fourth goal of the tournament in the 32nd minute with Filippa Angeldal adding the second from the penalty spot just after the break.

Japan never gave up the fight but Riko Ueki missed a 76th-minute penalty and her fellow substitute Honoka Hayashi’s goal 11 minutes later proved too little, too late as Sweden held firm under immense stoppage-time pressure to progress.

“It’s wonderful, obviously,” Sweden coach Peter Gerhardsson told Swedish radio.

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“The game had everything. In terms of performance, we had our best of the tournament. It got very exciting, Japan are one of the best teams in the tournament …”

The Swedes, charged with confidence after dethroning the reigning champion Americans on Sunday, tore into their opponents from the start, swamping the midfield and clearly rattling Japan.

Stina Blackstenius should have put them ahead in the 25th minute when she got in front of Japan’s defensive rock Saki Kumagai only to poke her shot wide from point-blank range.

SWEDEN STRIKE

Japan responded with their best attacks of the game but Sweden took the lead from a free kick just after the half-hour mark.

The Nadeshiko were unable to clear their lines as the ball pinged around the box and centre half Ilestedt buried it into the net with the fifth Swedish shot in the sequence.

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It was only the second goal Japan had conceded in New Zealand and the first time they had been behind but they were unable to break the stranglehold the Swedes had on them.

Sweden captain Kosovare Asllani almost doubled the lead just before the break but was denied by a combination of the fingertips of Japan goalkeeper Ayaka Yamashita and the post.

Yamashita was quickly in action again at the start of the second half to tip away a Johanna Kaneryd shot but Fuka Nagano handled the ball from the ensuing corner and Angeldal made no mistake from the penalty spot.

Japan looked a pale imitation of the side that had romped in the quarter-finals and got their first attempt on goal in the 63rd minute.

They stuck to their task, however, and had a chance to cut the deficit when Ueki was bowled over in the penalty box by Madelen Janogy in the 75th minute.

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The striker took the spot kick herself but was only able to clang the ball against the woodwork with her follow-up header going well over the bar.

Teenager Aoba Fujino smacked a free kick against the bar with little more than three minutes on the clock and Hayashi lashed the ball into the net from Japan’s next attacking move to set up a frenetic final 13 minutes but the Swedes held on.

Reuters

 

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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

Two Nigerian women’s clubs get financial boost from FIFA

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Following the record-setting FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023, 1,041 clubs from 48 FIFA Member Associations across all six confederations are to receive a share of the revenue for the release of players who participated in the tournament.

Going by the final list of players submitted by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to the tournament, two domestic club sides, Abia Angels and Rivers Angels will profit from the $11 million largess.

The funds have been made available via FIFA’s Club Benefits Programme (CBP), which was introduced ahead of the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019 to recognise the fundamental role that clubs play in developing players. The total amount committed to clubs that released and/or trained the stars of women’s football rose to USD 11.3m for the 2023 edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ from USD 8.48m four years earlier.

Nearly two million fans at the tournament’s ten stadiums – and two billion following around the world – witnessed a new standard of women’s football at last year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup, and now the clubs that played integral roles in shaping the talents of all 736 players at the tournament are to be rewarded.

“Strong clubs are crucial to the growth of women’s football, so distributing funding to over 1,000 clubs that have been instrumental in developing the world’s top female footballers is just one way that FIFA can offer its support,” said FIFA President Gianni Infantino yesterday.

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“What’s truly unique about this programme is that FIFA does not only reward the clubs that released the players for the tournament but also the clubs that have contributed to each player’s development between the ages of 12 and 22.

This development also means that most of the players who began their careers in Nigeria before their sojourn overseas will benefit from the gesture from the world football body.

“This model ensures that crucial funding as well as the incentive for clubs to provide the best possible training and environment for female talent – reaches every part of the global football ecosystem, benefiting grassroots and professional clubs.”

The number of clubs that were identified by FIFA as eligible to receive payments via the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 CBP increased by 219 clubs from 822 in 2019 to 1,041 in 2023. Positively, the number of clubs across FIFA’s Member Associations also increased from 39 in 2019 to 48 in 2023.

Each club’s share has been determined by the role that they played in a player’s development or participation in the tournament, either as a releasing club, a training club, or both.

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Each eligible releasing club will receive an equal amount per player per day at the tournament, counting from the beginning of the release period (10 July 2023) and finishing the day following the last match of the player’s national team at the tournament.

Each training club will receive an amount based on the number of training periods the player spent at the club between ages 12 and 22, with each year consisting of a maximum of two training periods. The number of days that the player spent at the tournament is also factored in, however, the number of minutes played by a player in any given match at the tournament is irrelevant, with all players treated equally based on the number of days that they were at the tournament.

In the 1,043 clubs, UEFA dominated in numbers with 581 Asia Federation was next with 151 clubs while CONCACAF was next with 108  just as COMEBOL followed with 95 and then CAF with 76 clubs and Oceania Federation took the rear with just 30 clubs.

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WOMEN'S FOOTBALL

CAF Women’s Champions League Qualifiers draw holds on Wednesday

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The 2024-2025 women’s interclub football season will officially kick off on Wednesday, 24 July, with the draw for the CAF Women’s Champions League qualifiers in 4 zones: UNAF, UNIFFAC, WAFU B and CECAFA.

The draw will be conducted at 10:00 GMTat the CAF Headquarters in Egypt and live-streamed on CAF TV and CAFOnline.com. 

Below are the teams entered by zone and the dates of the qualifying tournaments:

WAFU B (10 – 23 August): Ainonvi FC (Benin), Hasaacas Ladies (Ghana), Inter d’Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire), AO Étincelles OU USFA (Burkina Faso), AS Garde Nationale (Niger), Edo Queens (Nigeria), ASKO de Kara (Togo).

UNAF (21 – 31 August): CF Akbou (Algeria), Tutankhamun (Egypt), AS Far (Morocco), ASF Sousse (Tunisia)

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CECAFA (17 August – 4 September): PVP Buyenzi (Burundi), FAD (Djibouti), CBE FC (Ethiopia), Kenya Police Bullets (Kenya), Kawempe Muslim (Uganda), Rayon Sports (Rwanda), Yei Joint Stars (South Sudan), Simba Queens (Tanzania), Warriors Queens (Zanzibar)

UNIFFAC (16 – 24 August): Lekié FF (Cameroon), TP Mazembe (DR Congo), Atlético de Malabo (Equatorial Guinea), CSM Diables Noirs (Congo)

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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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