Top-class international football returns to South Africa in November as the country hosts the 7th African Women Championship (AWC), with the top talent in senior African women’s football battling it out for continental supremacy and a place at the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) AWC will feature hosts South Africa, perennial continental powerhouses Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon, Algeria, Tanzania, Mali and defending champions Equatorial Guinea.
The Draw to separate the eight participating teams into two groups of four, as well as the unveiling of the distinctive logo for the tournament, took place at the Birchwood Hotel today to herald the final countdown to the biannual tournament.
The tournament will be hosted by the Ekurhuleni Municipality at Daveyton’s Sinaba Stadium and Tembisa’s Makhulong Stadium from 31 October to 14 November 2010.
Equatorial Guinea won the 2008 AWC on home soil, in the process stunning Nigeria’s Super Falcons – who had won all the previous editions of the tournament - at the semi-final stage.
Equatorial Guinea then beat South Africa’s Banyana Banyana 2-1 in the 2008 final, so there will be plenty of footballing scores to settle in Ekurhuleni during what promises to be two weeks of top-class, exciting African women’s football.
While African supremacy will be at stake, the big incentive for the teams making it to the tournament’s final match will also be qualification for the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany in June and July next year.
“South African and African football is on a high after we so successfully hosted the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Now, the CAF African Women Championship gives us a wonderful opportunity to build on that momentum and shift the focus onto the cream of women’s football on the African continent. With the title of African champions and a coveted place at the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany at stake, the action on the pitch is sure to be frenetic and hard-fought,” said SAFA President Kirsten Nematandani.
“Off the pitch, however, the South African Football Association and our partners the Ekurhuleni Municipality want to ensure all the participating teams that they are guaranteed the utmost warmth and hospitality. We wish them well with their final preparations for a tournament which will benefit the continued rise and growth of women’s football and we look forward to welcoming them in Ekurhuleni soon,” Mr Nematandani added.
Councillor Ndosi Shongwe, a member of the Ekurhuleni mayoral committee for sport, said the Municipality viewed the African Women Championship as an important opportunity to carry on the legacy of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
“The hosting of this tournament on the heels of the successful 2010 FIFA World Cup is testimony that the infrastructure built for the World Cup will not lie dormant. This is yet another opportunity to put South Africa and Africa on the global map, especially as the two finalists will gain automatic entry into the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany next year,” said Clr Shongwe, who added the metro would graciously host all teams, but would urge its citizens and all South Africans to fill the stadiums and passionately support home team Banyana Banyana.
“We will be calling all our people to rally behind Banyana Banyana in the same way we did for Bafana Bafana during the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Bafana united us as a nation, now let’s allow the Women’s National Team to take over the baton. To us this is more than just winning the trophy; it is about uniting the country towards social cohesion,” Clr Shongwe added.
Matches will be played at the Sinaba Stadium in Daveyton and Makhulong Stadium in Tembisa from October 31 to November 14. Final fixtures and dates of all matches will be released shortly.
Media wishing to apply for accreditation to cover the 7th African Women Championship can do so at http://www.cafonline.com/competition/african-women-championship_2010/news/6464-media-accreditation-now-open-for-african-women-champions-south-africa-2010.html. The deadline for accreditation submissions is 10 October 2010.
Further information on the tournament can be found at www.cafonline.com and www.safa.net. For additional media inquiries please contact Jermaine Craig at email@example.com or +27(83)2010121 and Samuel Modiba, Senior Media Officer at the Ekurhuleni Media Relations Unit at Samuel.firstname.lastname@example.org or (+27)725153022.