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Women’s W’Cup: Africans Battle Colonial Masters Down Under

Next week’s fixtures of the Women’s World Cup Round of 16 has special flavours that is both historical and political, with the three African teams left in the competition tackling their respective colonial masters.

•Spain’s Aitana Bonmati (left) with Nigeria’s Gift Monday during their U-20 Women’s World Cup match at Guy Piriou Stadium in Concarneau, France…on Thursday. Spain won 2-1. Photo: AFP

It’s the most successful tournament for the African teams, with three of the continent’s representatives reaching the knockout stage of the competition.

Nigeria, South Africa and Morocco all qualified for the round of 16, with Zambia the only side not to advance after managing just three points from a possible nine in their group.

On Sunday, South Africa, led by the influential Thembi Kgatlana, battle their colonialists The Netherlands, who occupied Cape Town and established a colony in South Africa before the British took over.

On Monday, Nigeria take on England, part of the British colonialists that once ruled the country until 1960, when the Nigerians gained Independence.

It is the fourth time both countries women’s teams will clash. They had met at the group stage of the 1995 edition in Kastad, Sweden, with the English edging the former African champions 3-2.

But in the subsequent two matches in England, Nigeria won both. First in a July 2002 friendly match, a Patience Avre goal gave Nigeria a 1-0 win in Norwich. When they met again in England at Reading, the Super Falcons had a more comprehensive win — 3-0.

On Tuesday, Morocco, with a French coach, Reynald Pedros, take on France, the European nation that once colonised the North Africans, for their first ever confrontation in women’s football.

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