2019 Women's World Cup: Africa's trio name final squads

Author: Rosalind K. Amoh
Squads for 2019 Women's World Cup revealed
Squads for 2019 Women's World Cup revealed

Nigeria, Cameroun and South Africa - Africa’s three representatives at this year’s Women’s World Cup (WWC) to be staged in France next month - have released their final squads for the tournament.

Women's Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) champions, Nigeria, runners-up, South Africa and bronze medalists, Cameroun who by virtue of their standings at the AFCON qualified for the WWC, on Sunday confirmed their final lists from their provisional squad released earlier.

Per the tournament schedule, football's world governing body, FIFA, has also made the official list public, 10 days to the start of the competition.

Nigeria maintain the 2018 Women's AFCON squad for the 2019 Women's World Cup

There are no major surprises as the  head coaches of the three teams have kept faith with the players who played key role in helping the teams qualify for the WWC during the 2018 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Ghana last November.

Just like Cameroun’s Indomitable Lionnesses, the Bayana Bayana of South Africa’s squad is a fine balance of home-based and foreign-based players, while Nigeria’s Super Falcons are dominated by foreign-based, with only six home-based players making the cut.

While South Africa are making their debut at the Women Mundial, it is a second appearance for Cameroun who first played in the tournament during the 2015 edition.

Nigeria, are the African side with the most appearance at the WWC participating in the every four-years held tournament since making their debut at the 1991 tournament.

Having held out two slots in previous tournaments, Africa had an extra slot when FIFA decided to increase the number of participating teams from 16 to 24, starting with the 2019 event.

The Africa trio’s list complete the squads for the 24 participating nations to make up the 552 players who hope to take the spotlight on the #DareToShine world’s greatest stage.

The tournament which kicks off on June 7, with the final to be played on July 7.

Brighton's Ini Umotong has lost her place in Nigeria's 2019 WWC squad

 

Uchenna Kanu made it in Nigeria's final list for 2019 WWC

Nigeria's Super Falcons

Nigeria's squad is made up of three goalkeepers, six defenders, six midfielders, four wingers and four forwards.

The only surprise in the squad is the decision of Coach Thomas Dennerby to leave out UK-based Ini Umotong for USA-based Uchenna Kanu, for the France trip.

Umotong was part of Nigeria's 2015 WWC squad and her ommission is quite surprising, given that she had been part of the Super Falcons team that won the 2018 Women's AFCON, but Coach Thomas Dennerby defended his decision, saying in current form, Kanu was ahead.

The Pensacola forward Kanu who is a graduate of the 2018 Under-20 team for Nigeria, was invited to the Falcons' training in Spain last April and seemed to have impressed the coach who gave him a chance during the West Africa Football Union (WAFU) tournament in Abidjan earlier in May.

In Abidjan, Kanu scored 10 goals in five games to help Nigeria lift the WAFU trophy and thus convinced Coach Dennerby to include her in his final squad for France.

The Falcons are currently in Austria to round up their preparations and on Tuesday evening beat Haladas-Viktoria 5-1 in a friendly at the Avita Resort pitch.

They will depart Austria  for Reims on Tuesday, June 4, where they will be based for their group games.

 Nigeria will compete in Group A for the group stages alongside hosts, France, Norway and South Korea. The Falcons' opening game will against Norway on June 7.

Cameroun's Indomitable Lionnesses

Coach Alain Djeumfa has surprised many of Cameroun's fans by the inclusion of Gaelle Enganamouit in the team's final list for France 2019.

Enganamouit, who celebrates her 27th birthday on  June 9, has been without a club since leaving Spanish top tier side Malaga in April and there has been concern over her fitness level.

The former African women's player of the year only joined up with the Indomitable Lionesses in Spain a few days ago, having missed all of Cameroun's previous training meetings.

Gaelle Enganamouit will be Cameroun's most experienced player at the Women's World Cup

Enganamouit gained global recognition during the 2015 World Cup in Canada with her stellar performances that included a hat-trick against Ecuador in the group stages.
It is that performance that has encouraged Coach Djeumfa to include her in the final squad, saying her experience will be useful to the team.

"Gaelle is one of our best players for the past four years. She has experience and can always spring a surprise. We think she will be an asset for us," coach Djeumfa told BBC Sport.

"We are going with only the best players because we want to go as far as possible."

Preparing in Spain, the Lionnesses have played a couple of friendly matches already, the latest being a 4-0 win over  Levante 4-0 on Thursday, and will round up their training with friendlies against local outfits Murcia and Alhama before leaving for France on June 4.

Drawn in Group E, the Indomitable Lionnesses will begin their campaign, with their opening game against Canada on June 10. The Netherlands and New Zealand are the other group members.


South Africa have kept faith with the squad that delivered their first WWC ticket at the 2018 Women's AFCON

South Africa's Bayana Bayana

Coach Desiree Ellis has chosen to keep a consistent squad as the 23 players have been together since 2017, winning the COSAFA Cup as well as finishing second at the 2018 Women's AFCON and by that, secured a ticket for their first ever WWC.

The team is made up of three goalkeepers, seven defenders, eight midfielders and five forwards.
 South Africa will begin their quest for honours from Group B where they will challenge former champions, Germany, China and Spain for the two places for the knockout stage. Bayana's play Spain in the opening game on June 8.

Bayana Bayana after qualifying for the WWC, have engaged in a comprehensive programme to prepare. They have been in Cyprus for the past week, taking part in the Cyprus Women's Cup which ended on Sunday. However, they lost all three matches, losing their last game 0-3 to Finland