The first draw of the novel TotalEnergies CAF Women’s Champions League Zonal Qualifiers took place on Monday in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire with two groups of three teams each ready to battle for the one available slots to the final tournament in Egypt later this year.
Ivorian champions Onze Soeurs de Gagnoa are in Group A alongside Amis du Monde Football Club of Togo and Union Sportive des forces Armees from Burkina Faso in what is expected to be a very tightly contested pooling.
The competition will take place in Abidjan from July 17-30 at a venue that will be communicated later.
Amis du Monde Captain Nathalie Badate said in an exclusive interview that, “For the first time in Africa, we are going to this competition with the same chances so the draw in my opinion is okay and we will go to this competition in search of ultimate victory.”
“Participating in this competition is a privilege for me. The football history books will remember that we were the very first players to participate in this competition.”
Badate further explains that, “This is a good challenge to promote women’s football in Togo and Africa and above all to find a chance to cash in on my talent in a new environment because you know that a competition of such magnitude is a Godsend for any player.”
Nigerian champions Rivers Angels, who came into Monday’s draw ceremony as the top seed for Group B courtesy of being the team from the home of the reigning Africa Women’s Cup of Nations (AWCON) champions – Nigeria, have been drawn with Ghanaian outfit Hasaacas Ladies Football Club and Association Sportive de la police from Niger.
Matches involving Nigerian and Ghanaian sides have always provided sparks in African Football and the latest addition to that long list will be the Rivers Angels and Hasaacas Ladies Football Club matchup.
“It is a good draw. I have a strong belief that it is favourable. Our objective is to be on top of the table and to treat every game as the final. This is not an opportunity to outshine any team but an opportunity to leave a positive mark on the sands of time and qualify for the CAF Women’s Champions League proper. We also want to bring glory to God, the country and Rivers State,” explained Rivers Angels Captain Catherine Kenneth.
Nigeria and Ghana were also drawn to faceoff in the AWCON 2022 preliminary round qualifiers in what has been earmarked as the game-to-watch in the qualification process.
Hasaacas Ladies FC Coach Yusif Bassigi told CAF Online that, “Our objective is to qualify for the main tournament in Egypt meaning that we are going to qualify. Ghanaian football is of the best quality but it does not mean that Nigeria is underestimated.”
Caught in between two giants Association Sportive de la Police Coach Ali Django admitted that, “We cannot have fallen in a worse group than the one with Rivers Angels and Hasaacas. Our goal is to play very well during this competition. It is really an honour to participate in this very first competition of the CAF Women’s Champions League Qualifiers and we warmly thank CAF for having thought of Women’s Football.”
The top two teams from each group will proceed to the semifinals with the winners qualifying for the final and eventually the inaugural CAF Women’s Champions League which will be held in Egypt.