Sports

CAF keen to develop women’s game

…despite scrapping AWCOM 2020

The Confederation of African Football says it is intent on developing women’s football on the continent despite cancelling the 2020 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (AWCON) last week. The decision to scrap the Nations Cup was sweetened by the announcement of a continental Women’s Champions League but it was still a bitter pill for many to swallow. Last week, leading figures such as Nigeria’s Barcelona star Asisat Oshoala and South Africa coach Desiree Ellis criticised the decision.

“Women’s football is, today, one of the top priorities of CAF,” the body’s acting Secretary General Abdel Bah told BBC Sport Africa. “We perfectly understand the frustration of the top African players. We consider today that it is a small step back for a huge step (forward) in the future regarding women’s football.” Bah expressed a desire to significantly invest in the women’s game, while stating that the possibility of low viewing figures had also been a determining factor in scrapping this year’s AWCON. Nonetheless, cancelling rather than postponing the tournament – as CAF did with the men’s Nations Cup (moving it from 2021 to 2022) – did not go down well with many protagonists.

“For African teams, if there are no qualifying games we don’t play,” said Oshoala. “We don’t do anything – and then, when there are qualifiers or an AWCON we go to camp. We have to prepare and be ready, but right now African teams are not ready.”

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