It’s 2018, and Nigeria have just been crowned African champions, in the tournament now known as the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations, for the ninth time. The coat was to be passed from Ghana to another African country.
Central Africa was going to have its moment hosting the continent’s giant competition. Congo was supposed to host the groundbreaking 12th edition of WACON, but had to give up its hosting rights. Defending champions Nigeria and two-time champions Equatorial Guinea applied for the tournament, but Morocco, out of nowhere, beat them to the feat of hosting the 2022 event.
As the world continued to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, CAF awarded the tournament to Morocco. It is the first time that a North African nation has hosted the prestigious continental tournament. With stadiums that meet FIFA standards, football technology like VAR and a serene environment, CAF could not afford to pass them on.
On Wednesday, the investment paid off. Morocco beat Botswana in the quarter-finals to qualify for the World Cup for the first time. A raucous crowd of around 45,000 supporters helped carry the team, making Morocco the first North African side to qualify for the World Cup.
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