The much awaited draws for the FIFA Women’s World Cup took place on Saturday evening as the three African representatives – Nigeria, South Africa and Cameroon; finally knew their opponents at the global showpiece next year.
The Super Falcons of Nigeria will come up against the hosts, France; 1995 champions and first female Ballon D’Or winner – Ada Hegerberg’s Norway; and a very technical Korea Republic side which conceded only one goal and scored thirty in eight qualifying matches.
“There is no easy group here,” head coach of the Super Falcons, Thomas Dennerby said after the draw. “I’m okay with the draw because I always knew that we would have to play the best teams. That is what you do at the World Cup.
“If you have to make real impact at the FIFA World Cup, you have to beat the strong teams. That is what we have to prepare for. I am looking ahead to an interesting tournament in France in the summer of next year,” he added.
For Banyana Banyana of South Africa who will be making their debut at the World Cup in France, they come up against two time world champions and current world number two, Germany; Spain – who didn’t drop any point in the qualifying series thus becoming the second European team to qualify after the hosts; and China who will be making a 7th appearance at the 8th edition of the finals.
“It’s not a death sentence,” Desire Ellis, Head Coach of Banyana Banyana of South Africa said. “We knew we would be drawn against very strong teams and that is exactly what we got. This is our first time at the World Cup so everyone will look at South Africa as an underdog. We like it that way.
“For now, we have already scheduled games against European champions, The Netherlands, as well as Sweden, and we will play the USA as well. We will be ready for the tournament,” she added.
Meanwhile, the Indomitable Lionesses of Cameroon will be making their second appearance at the World Cup and will do battle against reigning European champions, Netherlands – who will also be making their second World Cup appearance in France; New Zealand – who have failed to make it to the round of 16 in four attempts; and Canada who are currently ranked 5th in the World.
“Some people are saying we got a favourable draw but I’m not seeing it that way. We have to go and prepare well and hard. None of the 24 finalists is an easy team,” Joseph Brian Ndoko of Cameroon said.
— ACLSports (@acl_sports) December 8, 2018
The 8th FIFA Women’s World Cup finals will take place in nine French cities between 7th June and 7th July 2019 and with six months to the finals, all three African representatives will look to do the continent proud with preparations by the respective federations expected to get underway in earnest.