The world football governing body, Fifa on Thursday took several important decisions regarding the upcoming Fifa competitions, including the Women’s Cup.
It has been confirmed that Africa can now have up to six slots at the 2023 Women’s showpiece set to be co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand.
The new exciting development comes after Fifa took the decision to expand the Women’s Cup to 32 teams following the success of the France 2019 edition to foster the growth of women’s football.
According to Fifa, four of the six African nations will be the semi-finalists at the 2022 Africa Women’s Cup of Nations (Awcon) while the other two will have to qualify through a 10-team playoff tournament.
In a statement, Fifa announced the following berths for the 2023 edition:
Direct slot allocation (29 of the 32 participation slots)
- 6 direct slots for the AFC;
- 4 direct slots for Caf;
- 4 direct slots for Concacaf;
- 3 direct slots for Conmebol;
- 1 direct slot for the OFC; and
- 11 direct slots for Uefa.
“The two host countries, Australia and New Zealand will automatically qualify for the Fifa Women’s World Cup 2023 and their slots have been taken directly from the quotas allocated to their confederations, namely the AFC and the OFC respectively.”
The three remaining slots will be decided through a ten-team play-off tournament with the following play-off slot allocation:
- 2 play-off slots for the AFC;
- 2 play-off slots for Caf;
- 2 play-off slots for Concacaf;
- 2 play-off slots for Conmebol;
- 1 play-off slot for the OFC;
- 1 play-off slot for Uefa.
“Four teams will be seeded in the tournament based on the latest Fifa Women’s World Ranking prior to the play-off draw, with a maximum of one-seeded team per confederation,” added Fifa.
“Teams from the same confederation will not be permitted to be drawn in the same group.
“The play-off tournament will be used as a test event in Australia and New Zealand for the Fifa Women’s World Cup, and both hosts will be invited to participate in friendly matches against the teams in Group 1 and Group 2, thereby ensuring that all teams play two matches during the play-off tournament.”
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By Tokelo Martin Mokhesi