Senegal/Ghana: Zambia and Senegal meet in difficult quarters today… As new faces guaranteed for the Women’s World Cup

At least two new Women’s World Cup finalists will be determined today and Thursday when the Africa Cup of Nations reaches the quarter-finals in Morocco.

The tournament serves not only to decide who is the best team on the continent, but also for four automatic African spots at next year’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

The Women’s World Cup has expanded from 24 to 32 teams, a 100 per cent increase in African representation, with the possibility of two more countries qualifying via a playoff tournament in New Zealand next February.

Senegal and Zambia meet in Casablanca today, followed by a meeting between Botswana and Morocco in Rabat in the first of four quarter-finals.

Neither of these countries have featured at a World Cup before, although Zambia qualified for the women’s soccer tournament at the Tokyo Olympics last year – where the women’s tournament is held at international level, unlike the men, who play under 23-restriction.

Tunisia, the other country with no World Cup experience, meets South Africa, who were at the last Women’s World Cup in France in 2019, in Rabat on Thursday.

Desiree Ellis’ side won all three group games, including beating holders Nigeria in the tournament’s opening game in Morocco last week, but were hit by a hammer blow, seriously injuring star striker Thembi Kgatlana.

Cameroon and Nigeria will rue their misfortune after meeting in Casablanca on Thursday in their round of 16 tie.