Africa’s Women Footballers Condemn CAF’s Cancellation Of AWCON By Cheryl Roberts

5 Jul

asisat nigeria

Just when Africa’s elite women footallers were calling for CAF to step up and introduce more continental competitions for women footballers, CAF went and – just like that – cancelled the African continent’s premier 2020 women’s football tournament, AWCON. Women footballers were dismayed and amazed at the cancellation of AFCON, announced at CAF’s last week held meeting. And this cancellation was done whilst continental men’s football tournaments got postponed and not cancelled.

Whilst CAF cancelled one women’s football continental championship, they introduced another. The women’s club champions league is set to debut in 2021. Women footballers welcomed this tournament; its something they been calling for over a long time.

CAF hosts a continental women’s football championship every two years. With the 2020 AWCON being cancelled, this means the next continental championship for women footballers will be in 2022 which will also double up as an African women’s football world cup qualifying tournament.

 

Africa’s elite footballers refused to accept the cancellation. They also refused to remain silent about the cancellation. And they expressed their opinions and feelings about the AFCON cancellation. They understand the covid-19 pandemic is impacting on world and continental sport. But they can’t understand how men’s football competitions are getting re-scheduled and postponed while women’s football tournaments are getting the cancelled notice.

Africa’s ‘Woman footballer of the Year’ Asisat Oshoala of Nigeria, responded on twitter with the opinion:

Other competitions POSTPONED but AWCON “CANCELLED” thank you once again for making us realize women’s football isn’t important to you.congratulations on dragging us back AGAIN.Adios’

South African international footballer Kaylin Swart responded and endorsed Asisat Oshoala’s opinion on twitter, saying: ‘We tired of it.’

In an interview with ‘South African SportsWoman’ publication, South Africa’s 2020 women’s football national captain Lebogang Ramelepe, called for the tournament to be re-scheduled, rather than cancelled.

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‘I can say it’s bad how are we going to prepare for the CAF championship if we won’t participate this year? Noooo, it’s wrong what they (CAF) are doing. Its best they reschedule for December than a year later’, said Lebogang Ramelepe.

Cameroon international Ajara Nchout gave her opinion abot the cancellation, on instagram. She said:

‘An Africa Women’s Cup of Nations is more than a competition. ‘Since yesterday – that was last Wednesday – I have been saddened by the news of the cancellation of the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations 2020. Even if I understand the decision, I find it hard to accept.’

Ajara Nchout also lamented how CAF – up until their meeting last week, doesn’t offer much to develop women’s football in Africa. She added: ‘Whatever, African women’s football will fall behind. African women’s football does not offer much opportunity to see one’s talents. Afcon is a door of opportunity for us.’

Nigerian footballer Asisat Oshoalato called for CAF to ‘prioritize women’s football’ and for CAF to have ‘no excuse’ when it comes to supporting advancement of women’s football in Africa.

Said Asisat Oshoala: ‘all the women National teams in Africa,see y’all in 2022 ‪#PrioritizeWomensFootball ‪#NoExcuse

 

ajara nchout

For Ajara Nchout, the cancellation of AFCON is a disappointment for Africa’s young women footballers who look forward to playing in their first continental championship and for the senior women footballers who always have something to look forward to, every two years.

‘Many of us have emerged with the Awcon. Three years in a lifetime is far. I am sad for my young sisters and African women’s football,’ said Ajara Nchout.

Asked whether CAF didn’t give women’s football much respect, South African footballer Leboganag Rameleope said:

‘That’s what I’m saying. It means they don’t value women’s football at all.’

That the cancellation of Africa’s premier women’s football tournament has left Africa’s women footballers irate, saddened and disappointed, there’s no doubt. It’s encouraging to have the women footballers speak out publicly and make their voices heard.

The male-controlled CAF must advance and support women’s football in Africa. We understand the covid-19 pandemic has ramifications. What is not acceptable is the cancellation of a women’s football tournament and the postponement of men’s football championships.

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