This is the first time ever the North Africans qualify for the World Cup.
The Atlas Lionesses of Morocco have emerged as the second African team after Zambia to qualify for next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup to be staged in Australia and New Zealand.
The North Africans sealed their historic qualification following a hard-earned 2-1 victory Wednesday night in Rabat over their Botswana counterparts at the ongoing Women’s Africa Cup of Nations.
Wednesday’s fixture between the Lionesses and Mares was the second quarter final contest at the 2022 WAFCON.
Even though the hosts were heavily backed to progress, debutants, Bostwana, gave a good account of themselves until the final whistle was blown.
The Morocco, Botswana clash got off to a thrilling start as Sanaa Massoudy broke the deadlock for the hosts just three minutes into the game.
While many had thought the early goal by Morocco will result in a floodgate of more goals, Botswana were quick to fire in reply.
Keitumetse Dithebe in the 7th minute got the equaliser for the Mares as both teams held on to their one goal apiece until the end of the first half.
It was Yasmin Mrabet who restored the Atlas Lionesses lead with a header in the second half and they held on to the lead until the final whistle.
Before now, Morocco had only twice appeared at the women’s verison of the Africa Cup of Nations in 1998 and 2000, exiting at the group stage both times.
However, with deliberate and conscious investments in women’s football in Morocco, the development structures have been upscaled in recent years and the fruits are fast showing.
Having achieved their first aim for a World Cup ticket, Morocco will be looking to go one step more as they will be facing either Nigeria’s Super Falcons or Cameroon’s Indomitable Lionesses in the semi final.
Interestingly, Morocco last time at the Aisha Buhari Cup in Lagos defeated Cameroon 1-0.