- Ghana win the inaugural WAFU Women’s Cup
- Côte d’Ivoire and Nigeria complete the podium
- Ghana’s Janet Egyir named player of the tournament, team-mate Portia Boakye finishes leading goalscorer
In winning the very first WAFU (West African Football Union) Women’s Cup, Ghana showed that they will be one of the teams to beat when they host the 2018 CAF Africa Women Cup of Nations in November, a tournament that doubles up as the continent’s qualifying competition for the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™.
FIFA.com looks back on the first staging of this new competition, which was held in Côte d’Ivoire and which saw the Black Queens get the better of some of Africa’s strongest sides.
Facts and figures
Dates: 10-24 February 2018
Venue: Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire
- Group A: Côte d’Ivoire, Niger, Burkina Faso, Ghana
- Group B: Nigeria, Togo, Mali, Senegal
What we learned
Favourites flex their muscles
Ghana went into the new competition as joint favourites along with Nigeria, a status they owed to the experience they have gained at the Women’s World Cup and their long tradition of excellence on the African women’s scene. As the hosts of the tournament and participants at the last women’s world finals at Canada 2015, Côte d’Ivoire were also hoping to make an impact, and so they did, joining the Ghanaians and Nigerians on the podium.
The Ivorians and Ghanaians dominated proceedings in Group A, collecting seven and six points respectively and earning big wins over Niger – 7-0 in the case of the hosts and 9-0 in the case of the Black Stars. Nigeria were the only side to score three wins out of three in the first round, topping Group B ahead of Mali.
In the semi-finals, Côte d’Ivoire saw off Mali thanks to a Nina Kpaho double, while the other semi, between Nigeria and Ghana, went to penalties following a 1-1 draw in normal time. The Ghanaians held their nerve to emerge 5-4 winners in the shootout.
The final was a repeat of the opening match, a game the hosts had won 1-0, with Kpaho scoring the only goal shortly after the hour mark. Ten days later, the Black Queens exacted revenge by the same scoreline, the solitary goal coming from Janet Egyir only three minutes in.
The match for third place was also a repeat of one of the opening games in Group B, with Nigeria just edging out Mali on both occasions. Peace Efih scored their winner in the first-round meeting, while a Chinaza Uchendu double gave them a 2-1 victory in the battle for bronze.
Stars of the tournament
With four goals and three assists, Ghana winger Portia Boakye was the tournament’s leading scorer, while team-mate Janet Egyir was named the competition’s most outstanding player. The defender featured in all five of her side’s matches and scored three goals, including the all-important winner in the final. In the absence of Elizabeth Addo, she also captained the side and had the honour of lifting the trophy.
Nigeria’s Rasheedat Ajibade finished second in the scoring charts with three goals, despite missing the group match against Togo on account of having to fly back to Lagos to collect the Best Young Player of the Year award at a ceremony organised by the Nigeria Football Federation.
The Ivorians also excelled in front of their fans. Forward Nina Kpaho helped herself to three goals – the winner against Ghana in the opening match and two against Mali in the semis – as did Ines Nrehy, all three of hers coming in a 30-minute spell in the match with Niger. Meanwhile, Cynthia Djohore collected the Golden Glove as the tournament’s best goalkeeper.
Finally, former player Mercy Tagoe earned her place in the history of Ghanaian football as the first female coach to win a trophy with the Black Queens. Taking over on an interim basis following the departure of Mas-ud Dramani last month, she will no doubt be hoping to stay in the post and engineer a similar outcome for her team at the 2018 Africa Women Cup of Nations and France 2019.