All set for the first round

Stage is now set for the first round of the African qualifiers of the FIFA U-20 Women World Cup, Costa Rica and Panama 2020 after 12 teams confirmed their next round places with the preliminary round concluded this weekend.

Morocco, Algeria, Congo, Liberia, Burkina Faso, Guinea Bissau, Senegal, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa joined Gabon who had a walkover DR Congo, and the trio of Nigeria, Cameroon and Ghana who received a bye to the first round.

In Sale, Doha Ahmamou’s brace combined with a goal from Oumaima Tayar gave hosts Morocco a 3-1 victory over Egypt, to complete the double after having an away 5-3 victory in Cairo a fortnight ago and qualify winning 8-4 on aggregate. Nadine Ghazi scored Egypt consolation goal of the night.

Algeria was another team to complete the double, beating South Sudan 4-0 in Algiers to qualify with an aggregate 9-0 victory. Khadidja Nefidsa’s brace with goals from Nassima Bakhti and Khouloud Ournani paved the Algerians way to the next round, and set a date with neighbors Morocco in an intriguing encounter.

In Luanda, Congo confirmed their supremacy to hosts Angola with an away 4-2 win, adding to their home 2-0 victory a fortnight ago to reserve their first round ticket winning 6-2 on aggregate. Congo will face Gabon who qualified automatically after DR Congo withdrew.

There was a nine goal thriller in Conakry, where Liberia’s Jackie Touah scored an own goal after 94 minutes to give hosts Guinea a 5-4 victory, but the visitors Liberia qualified having won the first leg 3-0 at home to win 7-5 on aggregate. They will face Cameroon in the next round.

Nigeria who had a bye will face Burkina Faso in the first round, after the later managed to hold Gambia to a barren stalemate in Bakau and qualify winning 3-2 on aggregate.

In Bissau, hosts Guinea Bissau scored nine unanswered goals against visitors Mauritania, to add to the six they scored away and achieve a famous 15-0 aggregate victory. They will face a tougher opponent in the first round in the form of Ghana.

Senegal returned from Pikine with a goalless draw with hosts Sierra Leone and manage a 1-0 aggregate victory. They will face Tanzania who came from behind to repeat their home 2-1 victory over neighbors Uganda, defeating them with the same result in Kampala. Phiona Nabbumba put the hosts ahead with a goal that could have been the aggregate winner for the Ugandans, but Diana Msewa and Clement Opa scored twice to send Tanzania to the next round.

Ethiopia completed the double over Burundi, defeating them 2-1 in Bahir Dar. Sira Yirdaw and Aregasha Kalsa scored in the opening half, only for Divine Nihorimbire to half the deficit after the break. Ethiopia qualified winning 7-1 on aggregate after an astounding away 5-0 victory in Bujumbura.

Talent Bizeki scored 18 minutes from time what proved to be the lone goal as Zimbabwe defeated Malawi in Bulawayo. An away 1-1 draw meant Zimbabwe qualified winning 2-1 on aggregate, to set a first round date with Ethiopia.

After an away 7-0 victory over Namibia, Botswana scored twice Orathile Rathari and Keitumetse Dithebe in the first 20 minutes to win 2-0 in Gaborone and qualify with an aggregate 9-0 victory.

Their next opponent will be neighbors South Africa who were held by Zambia to a home 2-2 draw in Johannesburg, but still qualified with an aggregate 4-2 win. Siomala Mapepa and Oseke Lubanji gave the visitors the lead twice into the game, but Chelsea Daniels and Zethembiso Vilakazi managed to equalize for the South Africans.

The first round first leg matches are set to be played in the weekend of 20-22 March, with the return leg taking place a week afterwards.

Source: Confederation Africaine de Football (CAF)

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