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Women’s 2024 Olympic Qualifying: Zambia narrowly escape scare from Ghana; Nigeria edge Cameroon

This week four nations moved on to the fourth and final round of the qualifying competition to determine Africa’s representatives at women’s football tournament for the 2024 Olympics in Paris, with familiar names on the list to fight for two spots. South Africa, Nigeria, Zambia and Morocco confirmed their places to continue their dominance of African women’s football after each nation previously represented the continent at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

For 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations finalists Morocco and South Africa, it was rather routine and straightforward. A 3-0 first leg victory against Tanzania in Dar es Salaam set the stage for a second leg at home that lacked much in the way of drama or suspense for South Africa’s Banyana Banyana, who finished the job with a 1-0 victory at home on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the Atlas Lionesses of Morocco dominated Tunisia with four first half goals in the span of eleven minutes to win 4-1 at home and complete a 6-2 aggregate victory.

It was much tighter for Nigeria and Zambia who encountered plenty of resistance. Nigeria advanced past Cameroon in Abuja courtesy of a first half goal from Esther Okoronkwo, who finished from a cross for the only goal in a 1-0 aggregate victory for the Super Falcons. In Zambia’s Copperbelt Province, the hosts struggled mightily with a fierce Ghana side who gave the Copper Queens all they could handle. The Black Queens stunned Zambia to take a 3-2 lead in the second half but Zambian star forward Barbra Banda found the goal in stoppage time to give her team a 3-3 draw that was enough to advance following a 1-0 first leg victory in Ghana.

Zambia advance to face Morocco in the final round while Nigeria duel with South Africa with the winners of both series qualifying for the final women’s tournament in Paris this summer. Scores and highlights are below from this week’s second leg matches.

Scores

Third Round Second Leg

Nigeria 1-0 Cameroon

Nigeria advance 1-0 on aggregate

South Africa 1-0 Tanzania

South Africa advance 4-0 on aggregate

Zambia 3-3 Ghana

Zambia advance 4-3 on aggregate

Morocco 4-1 Tunisia

Morocco advance 6-2 on aggregate

Fourth Round Matches

Zambia v Morocco- April 1

Morocco v Zambia- April 9

Nigeria v South Africa- April 1

South Africa v Nigeria- April 9

Highlights

South Africa 1-0 Tanzania

Morocco 4-1 Tunisia

Nigeria 1-0 Cameroon

Zambia 3-3 Ghana

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