CAF President Dr Patrice Motsepe says tonight’s 2022 TotalEnergies Women’s Africa Cup of Nations final between Morocco and South Africa will change the face of Women’s Football forever.
Hosts Morocco and South Africa will face off in the title decider at Rabat’s Moulay Abdellah Sports Complex in a match that will produce a new African champion. The past 11 titles since the tournament’s inception in 1998 have gone to Nigeria (nine) and Equatorial Guinea (two).
The Atlas Lionesses are featuring in their first ever continental final, while 2018 finalists Banyana Banyana are eyeing what would be their first WAFCON crown in their fifth final.
“Morocco and South Africa have invested a lot in the development and growth of women’s football. When you look at the WAFCON 2022 final, African football will be the winner. We need more member associations to embrace the investment in football and this will ultimately lead to systematic growth,” Dr Motsepe said in a press briefing on the eve of the final at Moulay Abdellah.
“We want women’s football to be professional. Women must earn more money and the sponsors are starting to see this. Women footballers need to get comparative salaries. African football players need to earn well while playing on the continent,” he added of a tournament that has set new records in terms of the quality of football, crowd attendance and increased remuneration for the tournament’s participating teams.
“When we talk about development, we have to talk about empowering female coaches. We have to spend more money on training them and this starts in the academies and that way we can see more and more female coaches on the continent,” Dr Motsepe added.
CAF organised a WAFCON 2022 Legacy Workshop from July 27-29 before the start of the tournament involving 29 Moroccan female coaches that are CAF B Licence coaches. The WAFCON 2022 edition had three female coaches, including South Africa’s Desiree Ellis, Gaoletlhoo Nkutlwisang of Botswana and Togo’s Tomety Kai.
Motsepe also emphasized that all clubs competing in the CAF Champions League starting next season must have a women’s team.
Meanwhile, Motsepe made a commitment to engage more with African Legends after their match against Moroccan Legends on Thursday in Rabat.
“There is a unique power in football. I saw how they were bonding together before, during and after the match. Some were speaking Arabic and others Portuguese, Spanish, French and English. You could see the camaraderie, the hugs and pure joy,” he explained.
“We will keep engaging them and hearing from them and asking them what can CAF do to support women’s football? It is incredible what you can learn when you hear from and listen to people.”
Among the African Legends invited were four-time African Player of the Year Perpetua Nkwocha, inaugural winner Mercy Akide, past winners Alberta Sackey (2002), Adjoa Bayor (2003), Genevevo Anonma Nze (2012), Gaelle Enganamouit (2015) as well as Ajara Nchout Njoya.
CAF’s male legends such as Samuel Eto’o, Lucas Radebe, Kalusha Bwalya, Wael Gomaa, Jay Jay Okocha, Emmanuel Adebayor and El Hadji Diouf have also been in Morocco for the CAF Awards and to support the WAFCON tournament.