Women's Africa Cup of Nations

The Women's Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON), known for sponsorship purposes as the TotalEnergies Women's Africa Cup of Nations and formerly the African Women's Championship, is a biennial international women's football tournament organized by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) since 1991 as the qualification for the FIFA Women's World Cup for African nations. Initially started as a home-and-away qualification competition, it got rechristened as a biennial tournament in 1998 and took on its current name as of the 2016 edition.

Women’s Africa Cup of Nations
Organising bodyCAF
Founded
  • 1991 (qualification)
  • 1998; 26 years ago (1998) (tournament)
RegionAfrica
Number of teams12 (finals)
Current champions South Africa (1st title)
Most successful team(s) Nigeria (11 titles)
WebsiteOfficial website
2024 Women's Africa Cup of Nations

Nigeria is the most successful nation in the history of the tournament since it became full-scale in 1998, winning 11 of the 14 editions so far and making it to at least the semi-final in every tournament they have played. Equatorial Guinea won as hosts of the 2008 and 2012 editions and South Africa are the current champions having won the latest 2022 edition to become the third African nation to ever win the tournament. Morocco, Ghana, and Cameroon are the only nations outside of the previous winners to have also made it to the tournament’s final.

History edit

1990s: Origin and early years edit

In 1991, FIFA organized the inaugural World Cup tournament for women after multiple trials dating back to 1974, causing CAF to organize a qualification competition on a home-and-away basis for its nations. For its first 2 editions in 1991 and 1995, multiple nations withdrew their teams from qualification or its matches, as they weren't ready for the new developments at the time. CAF, under then-president Issa Hayatou, decided to rechristen the competition as a biennial tournament by installing an 8-team group stage and a knockout stage, creating the traditional tournament structure that would last until 2015.

1991-2006: Nigerian domination edit

While 1991 was the first year of the tournament Congo, Senegal, Zambia and Zimbabwe all withdrew which led to the tournament only consisting of six matches. The tournament was played at locations across Africa, with no host nation. Nigeria defeated Cameroon, who had received two walkovers, in the final of the inaugural tournament in 1991 to win the first title. The victory earned Nigeria qualification to the 1991 FIFA Women's World Cup. Similarly in the 1995 edition Ghana and Angola withdrew, which left the tournament with only six nations. Nigeria claimed their second tournament win by defeating South Africa by an aggregate score of 11-2 over two legs.[1]

The 1998 edition was hosted from 17 to 31 October by Nigeria, who would claim their third consecutive win by defeating Ghana 2-0 in the final at Gateway Stadium. This was the first edition that featured a qualification round with Nigeria qualifying automatically as hosts, with the remaining seven spots determined by a qualification round, and a play-off round. From then on, the tournament would continue to take place biennially, with the 2000 edition being hosted in South Africa. Nigeria won their fourth title by beating South Africa 2–0 in the final in what was the only final in the tournaments history that was never completed. The match was abandoned at the 73rd minute due to fans throwing objects at the referee following Stella Mbachu’s second goal.[2]

Nigeria returned to hosting duties in 2002 which saw them beat Ghana 2–0 in the final to take their fifth consecutive title. They would also lift the trophy in the following two tournaments in 2004 and 2006, defeating Cameroon, and Ghana, in respective finals.

The 2008 edition of the tournament was hosted by Equatorial Guinea between 15 and 29 November. The tournament marked the competition debuts of Congo and Tunisia and was the first final that did not feature seven-time winner Nigeria. The final was held at the Estadio Internacional stadium, where hosts Equatorial Guinea defeated South Africa 2-1 to be the first nation beyond Nigeria to win the tournament. Nigeria would again lift the trophy in 2010 after defeating Equatorial Guinea 4-2 in the final, although Equatorial Guinea would again lift the trophy two years later in the 2012 edition by defeating South Africa 2-1 in the final, marking their second tournament win.[3]

The eleventh edition of the tournament in 2014 saw Nigeria pick up their ninth title as they beat Cameroon 2-0 in the final. Namibia was granted hosting duties for the tournament and thus made their debut in the final tournament. Namibia faced criticism in their hosting of the tournament because the national Namibia Women's Super League was suspended due to a lack of financial availability upon hosting the African Women's Championship.[4] Also for the first time, the defending champions of the tournament, Equatorial Guinea, were not taking part after failing to win their last qualifying round match after they were defeated by Ivory Coast.[5]

African Women Cup of Nations edit

On 6 August 2015, the CAF Executive Committee decided to change the tournament's name to the Africa Women Cup of Nations, similar to the male Africa Cup of Nations;[6] however the name on the tournament logo for the forthcoming edition following the announcement would read as the Women's Africa Cup of Nations. The 2016 Women's Africa Cup of Nations was hosted by Cameroon and was delayed to between 19 November and 3 December 2016 due to weather considerations.[7] Nigeria won their tenth championship as they defeated Cameroon 1-0 with a late goal in the final.

On 21 July 2016, French energy and petroleum giant TotalEnergies (formerly Total S.A.) secured an 8-year sponsorship package from CAF to support its competitions.[8][9] Following the announcement Patrick Pouyanné, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of TotalEnergies, released a press release stating “Africa is an integral part of TotalEnergies' DNA. Through this commitment, we strengthen our links and proximity with our stakeholders and customers, through popular and festive competitions that always generate great enthusiasm, including within our teams.”[10]

New Format and Winners edit

The 2020 edition was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa and its impact.[11][12] The cancellation of the Women’s tournament, opposed to the Men’s rendition being postponed is accredited to the worsening impact of the pandemic along with no new host nation coming forward, after Congo withdrew from hosting duties the year previous[13]

Nigeria won the Women African Cup of Nations 2018, achieving a 4-3 penalty shootout victory against South Africa in the final. The title was Nigeria’s third consecutive and eleventh overall Africa Women Cup of Nations title and cemented their place in the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup, where they would subsequently reach the round of sixteen. Cameroon came third after beating Mali 4-2 in their third-place decider match.[14] The prize money awarded to Nigeria for winning the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations winner amounted to $200,000.[15]

Tournament Expansion edit

In 2021, the President of CAF, Patrice Motsepe announced the CAF 2021-2025 Action Plan, in a speech during the 44th Ordinary General Assembly, in Tanzania.  Motsepe deemed the plan as “a commitment to the women who play the game, to the young girls who dream of a football career, and to all those who invest in the promotion and advancement of African Women’s football.”[16] This saw the prize fund for the tournament increased from $975,000 to $2.4 million, which was an increase of 150%. Along with the increased prize fund for CAF Women’s Champions League competition this initiative also saw an investment in women’s African football at grassroot level through the African Schools Football Championship, which introduced an equal prize fund for both the girls’ and boys’ competitions.

The 2022 edition of the tournament was the first edition with 12 teams, with there previously only being 8 teams who took part in the competition. It also went down in history as the edition which broke the attendance and audience records, with the semi-final clash between Morocco and Nigeria gaining 45,562 spectators in attendance at the Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium on July 18, 2022.[17] It was the first of the editions to be played in North Africa, with Morocco taking up hosting duties, which saw games played across three venues in Rabat and Casablanca from 2-23 July.[18] Semi-finalists Zambia and Nigeria joined the finalists Morocco and South Africa in earning automatic qualification for the 2023 FIFA World Cup, making Morocco the first country from North Africa and the Arab world to qualify for the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup.[citation needed] South Africa won the tournament for the first time after beating host nation Morocco 2-1 in the final[19], which itself marked the first final in the history of the competition to feature neither the eleven-time winners and defending champions Nigeria, nor two-time host-nation winners Equatorial Guinea.

On 6 July 2023, CAF revealed the draw for qualification schedule and procedures for the 2024 edition at the Mohammed VI Complex in Rabat, Morocco and pegged the commencement date at 10 August.[20] This will mark the second year running in which Morocco have hosted the tournament, with 7 of the 12 teams who have qualified taking part in the previous edition, with Cameroon and Cote d'Ivoire being notable omissions having been eliminated in the qualifiers.

Nations which have qualified for the 2024 tournament are the host nation Morocco, champions South Africa, Nigeria, DR Congo, Tunisia, Ghana, Botswana, Algeria, Mali, Tanzania, Senegal and Zambia.[21]

Format edit

The inaugural editions in 1991 and 1995 were purely home-and-away qualification matches as both CAF and African nations were adapting to the new developments from FIFA and that only one qualification spot for the FIFA Women's World Cup was available to African teams. The format continued with the installation of a full-scale tournament consisting of an initial eight-team group stage in the 1998 edition and an additional qualification spot. This stood until the 2016 edition when it was established that, henceforth, the finalists from every edition of the tournament would qualify for the FIFA Women's World Cup and the losing semi-finalists qualify for the play-offs to compete with the losing semi-finalists from the AFC qualification tournament for 2 spare spots at the international tournament. During an executive committee meeting ahead of the final of the 2019 U-23 Africa Cup of Nations, CAF approved an expansion of the group stage to 12 teams or 3 groups of 4 teams.[22][23]

At the onset of the competition, the defending champion qualifies automatically for the following edition of the tournament and since the 1998 edition, the appointed hosts nation of an edition of the tournament automatically qualifies.

Main tournament edit

Between 1998 and 2018, the 8 qualified teams were drawn into two groups of 4 with each team playing the other once. The top two advance to the knockout stage and earn qualification to the FIFA Women's World Cup every other edition.[24]

Since the 2022 edition, the 12 qualified teams are drawn into three groups of four teams each with the same format as in previous editions, but with an inclusion of the quarter-finals in the knockout stage. The top two teams and two of the best third-placed teams advanced to the knockout stage. The winners of the quarter-finals advance to the semi-finals and earn qualification to the FIFA Women's World Cup whiles the losers of the quarter-finals compete with the losers of the quarter-finals of the AFC qualification tournament for the remaining two available spots for the World Cup (commonly referred to by CAF as the "Repechage" stage).[25]

Trophy and medals edit

Throughout the history of the Women's Africa Cup of Nations, three trophies have been awarded to the winners of the competition; the current trophy was first awarded in the 2014 edition.

Results edit

Ed. Year Host nation Final Semi-finals Losers
Winner Score Second place
1 1991   Home sites  
Nigeria
2–0  
Cameroon
 
Guinea
and  
Zambia (withdrew)
4–0
2 1995   Home sites  
Nigeria
4–1  
South Africa
 
Angola
and  
Ghana
7–1
Ed. Year Host nation Final Third place match
Winner Score Second place Third place Score Fourth place
3 1998   Nigeria  
Nigeria
2–0  
Ghana
 
DR Congo
3–3 (a.e.t.)
(3–1 p)
 
Cameroon
4 2000   South Africa  
Nigeria
2–0 (abd)  
South Africa
 
Ghana
6–3  
Zimbabwe
5 2002   Nigeria  
Nigeria
2–0  
Ghana
 
Cameroon
3–0  
South Africa
6 2004   South Africa  
Nigeria
5–0  
Cameroon
 
Ghana
0–0 (a.e.t.)
(6–5 p)
 
Ethiopia
7 2006   Nigeria  
Nigeria
1–0  
Ghana
 
South Africa
2–2
(5–4 p)
 
Cameroon
8 2008   Equatorial Guinea  
Equatorial Guinea
2–1  
South Africa
 
Nigeria
1–1
(5–4 p)
 
Cameroon
9 2010   South Africa  
Nigeria
4–2  
Equatorial Guinea
 
South Africa
2–0  
Cameroon
10 2012   Equatorial Guinea  
Equatorial Guinea
4–0  
South Africa
 
Cameroon
1–0  
Nigeria
11 2014   Namibia[26]  
Nigeria
2–0  
Cameroon
 
Ivory Coast
1–0  
South Africa
12 2016   Cameroon[27][28]  
Nigeria
1–0  
Cameroon
 
Ghana
1–0  
South Africa
13 2018   Ghana[29][30][31]  
Nigeria
0–0 (a.e.t.)
(4–3 p)
 
South Africa
 
Cameroon
4–2  
Mali
2020 Cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa and its impact on CAF.[11][12]
14 2022   Morocco[32]  
South Africa
2–1  
Morocco[33]
 
Zambia
1–0  
Nigeria
15 2024   Morocco[34][35] TBD TBD

Note: abd – match abandoned at the 73rd minute

Summary edit

Team Winners Runners-up Third-place Fourth-place Total top four
  Nigeria 11 (1991, 1995, 1998*, 2000, 2002*, 2004, 2006*, 2010, 2014, 2016, 2018) 1 (2008) 2 (2012, 2022) 14
  Equatorial Guinea 2 (2008*, 2012*) 1 (2010) 3
  South Africa 1 (2022) 5 (1995, 2000*, 2008, 2012, 2018) 2 (2006, 2010*) 3 (2002, 2014, 2016) 11
  Cameroon 4 (1991, 2004, 2014, 2016*) 3 (2002, 2012, 2018) 4 (1998, 2006, 2008, 2010) 11
  Ghana 3 (1998, 2002, 2006) 4 (1995**, 2000, 2004, 2016) 7
  Morocco 1 (2022*) 1
  Guinea 1 (1991**) 1
  Angola 1 (1995**) 1
  DR Congo 1 (1998) 1
  Ivory Coast 1 (2014) 1
  Zambia 1 (2022) 1
  Zimbabwe 1 (2000) 1
  Ethiopia 1 (2004) 1
  Mali 1 (2018) 1
* hosts
** losing semi-finals

Records and statistics edit

Participating nations edit

Legend
Team  
1991
 
1995
 
1998
 
2000
 
2002
 
2004
 
2006
 
2008
 
2010
 
2012
 
2014
 
2016
 
2018
 
2022
 
2024
Years
  Algeria × × × × GS GS GS × GS GS Q 6
  Angola × SF × × GS × × × × × × 2
  Botswana × × × × × × × QF Q 2
  Burkina Faso × × × × × × × × × × GS 1
  Burundi × × GS 1
  Cameroon 2nd × 4th GS 3rd 2nd 4th 4th 4th 3rd 2nd 2nd 3rd QF 13
  Congo × × × × GS × × × × 1
  DR Congo × × 3rd × × GS GS × × × × Q 4
  Egypt × × GS × × × × GS 2
  Equatorial Guinea × × × × GS 1st 2nd 1st GS 5
  Ethiopia × × × × GS 4th × × GS 3
  Ghana QF SF 2nd 3rd 2nd 3rd 2nd GS GS GS 3rd GS Q 13
  Guinea SF × × × × × 1
  Ivory Coast × × × × × GS 3rd 2
  Kenya × × × × × × × × × GS 1
  Mali × × × × GS GS GS GS GS GS 4th Q 8
  Morocco × × GS GS × 2nd Q 4
  Mozambique × × × × × × × × × × 0
  Namibia × × × × × × GS 1
  Nigeria 1st 1st 1st 1st 1st 1st 1st 3rd 1st 4th 1st 1st 1st 4th Q 15
  Réunion × × × GS × × × × × × × × × × × 1
  Senegal × × × GS QF Q 3
  Sierra Leone × QF × × × × × × × × × × × 1
  South Africa × 2nd GS 2nd 4th GS 3rd 2nd 3rd 2nd 4th 4th 2nd 1st Q 14
  Tanzania × × × × GS Q 2
  Togo × × × × × × × × × × × × GS 1
  Tunisia × × × × × × × GS × QF Q 3
  Uganda × × GS × × × × × × GS 2
  Zambia QF × × × × GS GS 3rd Q 5
  Zimbabwe × × 4th GS GS × × GS × 4
Total (30 Teams) 4 6 7 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 12 12

Most tournament editions hosted edit

Hosts Nation Year(s)
Thrice   Nigeria 1998, 2002, 2006
  South Africa 2000, 2004, 2010
Twice   Equatorial Guinea 2008, 2012
  Morocco 2022, 2024
Once   Namibia 2014
  Cameroon 2016
  Ghana 2018

See also edit

Notes edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Africa - Women's Championship 1995". web.archive.org. 15 July 2006. Retrieved 19 March 2024.
  2. ^ "Nigeria and the African Women Championship finals | Goal.com". web.archive.org. 21 June 2018. Retrieved 19 March 2024.
  3. ^ "Africa - Women's Championship 2008". www.rsssf.org. Retrieved 19 March 2024.
  4. ^ Mupetami, Limba (14 February 2014). "Namibia: NFA Caught On Its Heels". The Namibian (Windhoek).
  5. ^ CAF. ""Ivorians edge holders Equatorial Guinea; Nigeria through"".
  6. ^ "Decisions of CAF Executive Committee on 6 August 2015". CAFOnline.com. 9 August 2015. Archived from the original on 15 September 2022. Retrieved 1 September 2022.
  7. ^ "CAF Executive Committee decisions of 26 May 2015 | CAFOnline.com". web.archive.org. 6 February 2023. Retrieved 19 March 2024.
  8. ^ "Total, Title Sponsor of the Africa Cup of Nations and Partner of African Football". CAFOnline.com. 21 July 2016. Archived from the original on 20 June 2023. Retrieved 3 June 2022.
  9. ^ "Total to sponsor CAF competitions for the next eight years". africanews. 21 July 2016. Retrieved 18 April 2017.
  10. ^ "Total Women Africa Cup of Nations". Football together. 21 May 2019. Retrieved 19 March 2024.
  11. ^ a b "Decisions of CAF Executive Meeting – 30 June 2020". CAFOnline.com. 30 June 2020. Archived from the original on 1 July 2020. Retrieved 27 April 2022. Due to challenging conditions, the 2020 edition of the Women's Africa Cup of Nations has been cancelled.
  12. ^ a b Ahmadu, Samuel (30 June 2020). "2020 Africa women's cup of nations cancelled". Goal.com. Retrieved 30 June 2020.
  13. ^ "CAF postpones AFCON until 2022 due to virus". ESPN.com. 30 June 2020. Retrieved 19 March 2024.
  14. ^ "African champions Nigeria reach ninth consecutive Women's World Cup". BBC Sport. 14 July 2022. Retrieved 19 March 2024.
  15. ^ "WAFCON: Bigger tournament, more cash for African footballers – DW – 07/08/2022". dw.com. Retrieved 19 March 2024.
  16. ^ "CAF Women's Football: Landscape Report 2022" (PDF). 2022.
  17. ^ Nigeria, Guardian (19 July 2022). "WAFCON 2022: Nigeria/Morocco clash set new Africa record attendance". The Guardian Nigeria News - Nigeria and World News. Retrieved 19 March 2024.
  18. ^ "News". CAF. 23 June 2023. Retrieved 19 March 2024.
  19. ^ Kasraoui, Safaa. "Morocco Loses Wafcon Final To South Africa". Morocco World News. Morocco. Retrieved 19 March 2024.
  20. ^ "TotalEnergies CAF Women's Africa Cup of Nations, Morocco 2024 qualifiers draw concluded". CAFOnline.com. 6 July 2023. Retrieved 6 July 2023.
  21. ^ Silas, Don (6 December 2023). "Women's AFCON 2024: 12 countries qualify for tournament in Morocco". Daily Post Nigeria. Retrieved 19 March 2024.
  22. ^ "CAF Holds Executive Committee Meeting ahead of CAN Total U-23 Final". CAFOnline.com. 21 November 2019. Archived from the original on 22 November 2019. Retrieved 21 December 2022. New formats for youth and women's competitions based on 12 teams were approved.
  23. ^ Ahmadu, Samuel (17 July 2019). "Caf expands African Women's Cup of Nations to 12 teams". Goal.com. Retrieved 1 June 2020.
  24. ^ "Main tournament format as documented in Article 62 of the original Women's Africa Cup of Nations Regulations" (PDF). CAFOnline.com. 25 August 2010. pp. 26–27. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 November 2011. Retrieved 21 December 2013.
  25. ^ "TotalEnergies Women's Africa Cup of Nations Draw procedure explained". CAFOnline.com (Press release). 25 April 2022. Archived from the original on 25 April 2022. Retrieved 27 April 2022.
  26. ^ "Decisions of CAF Executive Committee on hosting of Junior and Senior CAF Competitions". CAFOnline.com. 28 September 2011. Archived from the original on 15 November 2011. Retrieved 13 January 2015. Namibia – 2014 Africa Women's Championship
  27. ^ "AWC 2016: From Namibia to Cameroon". CAFOnline.com. 26 October 2014. Archived from the original on 20 June 2023. Retrieved 3 June 2022.
  28. ^ Jisi, Kila. "Cameroon To Host 2016 African Women's Championship". Lions4Life.com. Archived from the original on 22 October 2014. Retrieved 22 October 2014.
  29. ^ "Ghana to host 2018 Africa Women's Cup of Nations". ModernGhana. Ghana News Agency. 28 September 2016. Retrieved 15 January 2021.
  30. ^ "GFA receives official mandate to host 2018 Women AFCON". Ghana Football Association. 12 December 2016. Archived from the original on 13 January 2017. Retrieved 3 June 2019.
  31. ^ "Decisions of the CAF Executive Committee of 14 March 2017". CAFOnline.com. 14 March 2017. Archived from the original on 7 February 2023. Retrieved 16 January 2021. The qualifiers schedule for the 11th edition of the Total Women's AFCON, Ghana 2018, was adopted. In accordance with the international harmonized calendar for women's competitions, the final tournament will take place from 17 November to 1 December 2018.
  32. ^ "Decisions of CAF Executive Committee – 15 January 2021". CAFOnline.com. 15 January 2021. Archived from the original on 16 January 2021. Retrieved 16 January 2021. Morocco has been designated host of the 2022 Women's Africa Cup of Nations.
  33. ^ Howorth, Alasdair (19 July 2022). "Morocco into WAFCON final after thrilling victory over Nigeria". Her Football Hub. Retrieved 18 October 2023.
  34. ^ "Again, CAF approves Morocco as WAFCON host In 2024". Blueprint Nigeria. 10 August 2022. Retrieved 11 August 2022.
  35. ^ "WAFCON 2024: Morocco still host country". Sport News Africa. 10 August 2022. Archived from the original on 29 March 2023. Retrieved 12 August 2022.

External links edit