The preliminary round of the 8th African Women’s Championship 2012 gets underway across the continent this weekend with the first leg matches. The finals will be held in Equatorial Guinea in November but the road to Malabo begins with the ten matches on this weekend. Senegal would have been playing Burundi but the latter withdrew from the competition.
Botswana side will be keen to follow in the footsteps of their male counterparts and reach their first ever continental finals but the first steps to that goal begin with contest against neighbours Zimbabwe at University of Botswana Stadium in Gaborone on Saturday. It is the same venue where the Orange CAN 2012 finals bound Zebras men’s side played out a 0-0 draw against Zimbabwe last Saturday and the Botswana women’s side would gladly take the same result this weekend. Zimbabwe women’s side nicknamed, Mighty Warriors Coach Rosemary Mugadza promised not to take the hosts lightly. The Botswana side has been preparing thoroughly for the match and after long training camp indications are that the team standard and level of play will be up from previous participation. Mugadza went on to say “We have also done our part though and have been in camp since last week and I think the girls are ready for the match. The friendly match we played against South Africa on 22nd December also helped us a lot and we are going to Botswana to attack and get a positive result”.
Meanwhile Zambia women’s team, She-polopolo will clash with Malawi on Saturday at Nkoloma Stadium in Lusaka. Zambia coach Enala Simbeye was confident that here charges would come out with a good result despite facing a strong Malawi side. Simbeye said in previous matches her team was not up to expected standard in terms of fitness and sharpness in front of goal. The coach was pleased that recent work in training had made good progress on these areas leaving her happy and confident of victory. “We feel we have done most of what we saw was a problem with the team, especially scoring and shooting from afar. I am happy that the girls managed to score during the friendly games we have played. So far so good, we are focused on winning the match,” concluded Simbeye.
In Cairo Mohamed Fathi coached home side will welcome Ethiopia hoping for more inspirational leadership and goals from Captain Haiam Abdel Hafiz. As part of their preparation for this weekend’s competition Egypt played a number of friendly matches in Cairo and Haiam Abdel Hafiz was influential. It was her superb striker in their last match against Uganda that won the match on 20th December 2011, the last time Fathi’s team was in action. Uganda will host DR Congo in Kampala and team coach Majidah Nantanda will be hoping to build on the positive outcome of their matches. According to Nantanda her charges have recently shown pleasing improvement and will be ready for the Congolese. The second leg matches will be played in two weeks time. Four teams, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria and South Africa have a bye for this preliminary round of the competition.


Africa – CAF Championship – WC Qualifying Africa

Egypt 4 – 2 Ethiopia

Egypt women’s football team will take a two goal cushion to Addis Ababa in the return leg of the 2012 African Women Championship preliminary round match in a fortnight’s time. Home side Egypt emerged victorious in a closely fought encounter with two goals from captain Engi Atia and one each from Salma Tarek and Haiam Abd El Hafiz. Ethiopia replied through Erehima Biza and Shetaye Abaa.

Egypt were quick to settle into the game and forced early corner kicks as forwards Nesma Fekry , Mahera Ali  and Salma Tarek sought to stretch out the Ethiopian defence.  The first corner kick for Egypt had Dagmawet Bekele in goal for Ethiopia parry the ball away from her goal-line with her defenders still finding their feet. The sight of it all was all Engi Atia needed when she lined up the second corner kick which she swung with her left boot and it eluded all in the box to nestle into the back of the net for the opening goal.
A stunned Ethiopia slowly got back into the game and impressed with some short neat passes initiated from the back. Soon Eden Negri was finding her range with passes and linking up with midfielder Birtukan Ware, Biza and Abaa but the final ball and short was largely lacking. Egyptian defence held tightly by Neven Gamal and Yasmin Samir was soon over-working as the Ethiopians dominated play. One well worked out move started by Berktawit Aboye put Abaa through on goal but she shot tamely straight into Fawkia Amry’s hands but the warning signs were flashing for the hosts. As the half time mark beckoned Ethiopia were virtually camped in the Egyptian half leaving the home side chasing the ball. The equaliser eventually came through Biza who headed clinically past Amry from a delightful cross by Abaa after some neat exchanges.  The teams went into the break at 1-1 with Egypt relieved for a change to regroup.
At the start of the second half both coaches introduced substitutes and the new players had immediate impact. Haiam Abd El Hafiz brought some pace and trickery upfront for Egypt. She almost put Egypt in front when she intercepted an attempted pass across the backline by the Ethiopians but her shot sailed over the cross bar. The Ethiopian defence didn’t seem to heed the danger of playing the square passes across the backline and they were to pay for it later.  Abdel Hafiz got onto a through ball but seemed to have had a heavy touch as she raced towards goal. Bekele came off her goal-line and from the ensuing contact with Abd El Hafiz the Egyptians were awarded a penalty. Up stepped Atia to skillfully convert for hers and Egypt’s second goal. The goal brought back the momentum in Egypt’s favour and they went in search for more goals with Sara Abdallah and Salma Tarek making dangerous runs behind the opposition’s defence.   
Egypt carved up a move involving a number of players and it was skillfully finished off by Tarek running onto a ball into space behind the defence and she picked her spot, knocking it past Bekele as she came off her line. Ethiopian was stunned again and it got worse shortly afterwards  when  Ethiopian captain Bezuhan Alemar who up until then had had a good game  was caught in two minds with the ball at her feet . She was robbed of the ball by an alert Abd El Hafiz who ran on goal placed her shot beyond diving Bekele. Egypt sought to play out the game and the visitors encouraged by coach Abraham Teklehymanot went for a late rally to try and reduced the deficit. As urgency crept into the Ethiopian game, Ware’s delicate touch returned and she was again finding the forwards with some fine passes. Abaa made the most of a long ball that was not dealt with by Egyptian defence and she raced towards goal before shooting across Amry for Ethiopia’s second. There final whistle came not too long after that goal and the two teams will battle it out all over again in two weeks in Ethiopia.

Namibia 0 – 2 Tanzania

Mali 0 – 3 Ghana

Ghana’s Black Queens posited a 3-0 win over their Malian counterparts in their 2012 African Women’s Championship qualifier preliminary round first leg clash in Bamako over the weekend

The Ghanaians scored through Faiza Ibrahim, Mercy Myles and Leticia Zikpi to seal victory in the first leg.

The Black Queens appeared too much for their West African counterparts, whom they tore apart in front of their fans.

Burly forward Faiza broke the deadlock in the first half before efforts from Myles and Zikpi in the second half wrapped up victory.

The Ghanaian team will host the second leg in a fortnight with the winner due to face Cameroon at the next round.

The Black Queens have participated in all seven previous editions of the biennial championship.

Côte d’Ivoire 5 – 1 Guinea

Kenya V Mozambique

Zambia 7 – 0 Malawi

Morocco 2 – 0 Tunisia

Botswana 0 – 1 Zimbabwe

Botswana women’s football team went down by a solitary goal to visiting Zimbabwe in the preliminary round first leg match of the 2012 African Women Champions. The two sides meet again in a fortnight’s time in Zimbabwe with the aggregate winner scheduled to play current title holders Nigeria in the next round.

Favoured to come up top in the match the Mighty Warriors of Zimbabwe were restricted and contained by Botswana leaving the match goalless at half time. While home side did not create many scoring chances they did well to stop conceding goals, holding their own against their more experienced opponents. Mighty Warriors were not to be denied their goal though and it came through a header from Erina Jeke in the early minutes of the second half.  The goal seemed to settle the Zimbabweans but they missed chances to increase the lead and Botswana will travel to Zimbabwe still very much in the contest despite losing 1-0 at home.
In Zambia the home team ran riot against visiting Malawi scoring seven times without reply. Shepolopolo dominated Malawi and had opened the scoring as early the second minute of the game through Noria Sosala who went on to a second goal. Also scoring a brace for the Zambians was Mwila Bowa.
Zambia led 4-0 at half time and further goal from Kabange Mupopo, Anne Kabaiji and Misozi Zulu completed the rout which left Malawian coach Temwa Msuku saying “You feel humiliated when you concede so many goals. It was a terrible day for us “ The sides meet again in the return fixture in  Malawi in two weeks time with the aggregate winner set to play South Africa in the next round.

Uganda 1 – 1 Congo DR

Senegal (Off) Burundi



  1. Ken Suzuki 9 years ago

    Does China come with their best squad?

    Look at their starting line-up when they played Japan at London Olympic qualifier (September, 2011).





    Source: AFC website

    And here is the starting squad for this latest game.



    Assuming they deployed their best to qualify Olympic (why not?), then only 2 (Zhang and Shanshan) played the Americans this time. It is possible China is in a middle of large-scale switchover to young players having 2015 and 2016 in sight. Still, it does not look they are serious.

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