India in sight for Africa’s U-17 hopefuls
Africa in the midst of the second of three stages of India 2021 qualifying
Ghana and Nigeria, the continent's most successful teams, on a collision course
Cameroon, Morocco and Zambia among other nations making their mark
Africa’s long road to the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup India 2021™ reaches another key point this weekend as the second of three stages concludes.
The continent’s big guns are all involved in the fight for six spots in the final round of qualifiers, with three berths at India 2020 ultimately up for grabs. And while history favours two teams in particular, some less familiar names seem certain to be in the running.
Ghana and Nigeria have been Africa’s dominant teams at this age level, with the Black Maidens ever-present at the U-17 Women’s World Cup thus far and the Flamingoes having been represented in all but one of the six previous editions. As it stands, however, these two giants are on course for a showdown from which only one of them will emerge.
Both registered convincing away wins in the first legs of their ties against Liberia and Guinea respectively, and finishing the job this weekend will leave the Ghanaians and Nigerians to fight it out for a single World Cup slot in May’s second round.
That provides added hope for some of the qualifiers’ dark horses.
Zambia, for example, hold a 2-0 lead over South Africa from the tie's first leg and will be hopeful of building on the feelgood factor established by the senior team’s shock qualification for the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament.
Morocco and Tanzania, both big winners in January’s preliminary round, are also well placed to progress after first-leg wins over Botswana and Uganda respectively. And Cameroon, who have qualified for the U-17 World Cup twice before, have high hopes once again after putting four unanswered goals past São Tomé and Príncipe.
#U17WWC CAF qualifiers: First round, first leg results
Zambia 2-0 South Africa Botswana 0-1 Morocco São Tomé and Príncipe 0-4 Cameroon Liberia 0-2 Ghana Tanzania 2-1 Uganda Guinea 1-6 Nigeria
The winners of the three second-round ties, scheduled for between 1 and 17 May, will go on to represent Africa at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup.