June 26th may seem far away but will soon creep up fast, on the women's soccer loving populace across the world. This day's significance you may ask ? The FIFA women's world cup !
The USA and other heavy hitters in the women's soccer world are preparing feverishly for this day. The Algarve Cup, dubbed the Mundialista was won by the USAWNT.The tournament saw countries like Portugal,China,Finland,Wales,Norway,Japan,Iceland,Sweden,Denmark and Chile parading their stars all in a fiercely fought battle which of course saw the US towering above the rest.Where was Africa in all this ?
Women's soccer in Africa is given little or no attention especially in this day and age when a lot is expected from our women. How do we reap where we haven't sown ? Nigeria,the current African Champions were walloped by Germany a couple of months ago in a friendly encounter following their crowning as champions at the African Cup of Nations, by a whooping 7 goals to nil,Equatorial Guinea the other African representative at the world cup is silent. Perhaps both countries are preparing on the quiet- ridiculous !
Should we as fans be surprised when the African representation are shredded to pieces as always or should we just accept our fate as also runs ? Why should the Women's African Cup of Nations and the All Africa Games (soccer) be the only major competition on the continent ? Women soccer players work as hard as their male counterparts yet the attention is always directed towards the men's. Where is the respect ?
Back to the subject at hand, Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea will be rubbing shoulders against legitimate contenders come June 26th in Germany,I hope Nigeria wont be participating as perennial African "also runs" and Equatorial Guinea wont buckle under the pressure of being virgins at the world cup. However, i wonder if the preparation put in by both countries will be adequate enough to merit advancing from the group stages.
This world cup should be one where Africa makes a statement by at least advancing to the semi finals. The new kids on the block Equatorial Guinea, have enough talent and athleticism,Nigeria has experience which can be found in the likes of Pepertua Nkwocha,the reigning queen of Africa's women's soccer,Precious Dede,Rita Chikwelu,Cynthia Uwak to mention but a few,who are tried and tested players,but what the world is waiting to see is how Coach Eucharia Uche the first female coach(African) to be in the hot seat, fares at the world cup with her charges.
Whiles countries to be represented at the world cup cross paths in preparation,It's my fervent hope that our African contingent will be given the necessary logistic support by their respective FA's as they march on to do the continent proud in Germany. A couple of friendlies with A-list countries will be welcome,after all we are worth it ! Are the potential sponsors seeing the big picture ?