Morocco has welcomed the Confederation of African Football’s decision to have next year’s Africa Women’s Cup of Nations held in their country.
Omar Khyari, advisor to the president of the Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF) Fouzi Lekjaa, told FARPost they were excited to host the biggest women’s showpiece on the continent.
Congo pulled out from hosting the 2020 edition in July 2019 before it was called off because of Covid-19.
“Morocco has been designated host of the 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations,” interim Caf president Constant Omari confirmed during a press conference on Friday.
Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea had also been in the running to take over from Congo but reports have suggested a lack of backing from the government swiftly saw it become an unlikely choice.
Khyari said they would do everything to ensure the continental showpiece is a massive success.
“We are very happy and honoured to host the African Women’s Cup in Morocco. First class infrastructure will be available for this competition with the aim of having a high quality soccer showpiece.
“We want this event to be a great celebration of African football. The hosting of this event comes at the right time for the FRMF, which is taking significant steps towards the development of women’s football in Morocco,” Khyari told FARPost.
The competition has since been expanded from eight to 12 teams, which was the first change to the format after 11 editions.
Besides that, a record total of 36 national teams have entered the qualifying tournament for the 2022 Awcon finals, with 11 countries expected to make it out of the qualification series.
The Atlas Lionesses, who had previously competed twice, first at Nigeria 1998 before the last at South Africa 2000, feature for the third time, while hosting for the first time in their history.
By Mthokozisi Dube