Ten teams now determined for Women's World Cup
Ghana and Nigeria have earned Africa's two berths into the 2003 Women's World Cup in China by virtue of their victories in the semifinals of the African Women's Championships, which are taking place in Warri and Oghara, Nigeria. The Black Queens of Ghana, which defeated Cameroon 3-2 in overtime on Tuesday, and the Super Falcons of Nigeria, which defeated South Africa 5-0 on Wednesday, will meet for the African title on Saturday in Warri.
The addition of Ghana and Nigeria, the same two countries which qualified from Africa for the 1999 Women's World Cup in the United States, means that 10 of the 16 2003 Women's World Cup squads have been determined. The Black Queens, which upset the Falcons 1-0 in group play, edged Cameroon in dramatic fashion in their semifinal, winning in overtime to earn their berth.
The Bayana Bayana of South Africa, which was looking for its first Women's World Cup berth, suffered the cruel twist of fate of having to play perennial African champion Nigeria in the semifinal after the Falcons finished second in their group and South Africa finished first.
Playing in front of a raucous crowd at home, Nigeria cruised to the victory and earned their fourth Women's World Cup berth after having played in the three previous competitions.
The breakdown of qualified teams appears below:
AFRICA (2 of 2): Ghana and Nigeria.
ASIA (1 of 3.5): China (host); dates/venues of qualifying tournament yet to be finalized.
CONCACAF (2 of 2.5): Canada, United States; Mexico will play the third place finisher in Asia qualifying for a berth in China.
EUROPE (5 of 5): Germany, Norway, Russia, Sweden and France.
OCEANIA (0 of 1): Approximately 10 teams will compete in the OFC Women's World Cup Qualifying Tournament in Australia in April of 2003.
SOUTH AMERICA (0 of 2): 10 teams will compete for two spots in South American qualifying in Peru in April of 2003.