- The Mares’ next opponents, Morocco, have a 100 percent winning record in the tournament so far
- Morocco also unbeaten in their last 10 international games
- If the Mares eliminate Morocco they will also qualify for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup
The Botswana women’s senior national team, the Mares, will take on hosts Morocco in the quarterfinals of the ongoing 2022 African Women’s Cup of Nations (AWCON) today (Wednesday) at 10pm (Botswana time). An added incentive for the Mares to eliminate the hosts will a spot in the 2023 FIFA World Cup in Australia, the spot is reserved for all teams that reach the semifinals of the AWCON tournament.
In their debut campaign, the Mares have performed beyond expectations by qualifying for the quarterfinals. Gaoletlhoo ‘Ronaldo’ Nkutlwisang’s charges have been pleasing on the eye and they have captured the admiration of neutral observers and supporters alike.
They won their first game convincingly before falling short against defending champions Nigeria and South Africa.
The nature of the narrow defeats against the African heavyweights indicated that the gulf in class between the Mares and their continental counterparts is not as wide as some had suggested. Their next task against Morocco will be a litmus test for the team.
Morocco, under the tutelage of Frenchman Reynald Pedros, are one of only two teams with 100 percent winning records in this year’s AWCON. They share the record with South Africa. The team is also on an impressive run in 2022, they are unbeaten in their last 10 international games. The unbeaten run includes wins over European teams Malta and Moldova.
In Africa they have beaten the likes of Ghana, Congo and Gambia while also avoiding defeat against Ivory Coast and Zambia in international friendly games. In this year’s AWCON they have easily disposed of Burkina Faso, Uganda and Senegal. They have scored five goals while their defence has been breached only once so far.
The player to watch in Morocco’s ranks will be tournament top scorer Ghizlane Chebbak who has scored three goals so far. The Mares will have to guard against her set piece supremacy as the experienced Moroccan striker is dangerous on dead ball situations. If the Mares eliminate Morocco they will face either Cameroon or Nigeria in the semifinals.