Hosts Morocco are on the verge of historic qualification to the quarter-finals of the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations as they take on a Uganda side in need of points to stay in the hunt for a spot in the next round.
More of the same for the hosts
The atmosphere in the Prince Moulay Abdellah stadium was electric as Morocco took to their first ever WAFCON on home soil. Over 40,000 fans roared the Atlas Lionesses to a 1-0 victory over debutants Burkina Faso.
The North Africans will look to replicate the football that lead to complete controlled for 75 minutes of their first match. The technical talent of the Moroccans was on show as they dictated play. In particular, captain Ghizlane Chebbak and Elodie Nakkach shone.
Rosella Ayane up front was a mobile target, often dropping deep to allow for overlaps as well as a willing runner into the channels. The Tottenham Hotspur centre forward came close to scoring a number of times and will be looking to add to her tally.
But the biggest threat to Uganda is Moroccan right winger Fatima Tagnaout. The AS FAR player was a constant threat against Burkina Faso, drifting inside onto her left foot at will, where she could then pick crosses, find her full back or switch the flanks at will.
In Chebbak they also posses a supreme set-piece taker. The daughter of former Morocco international Larbi Chebbak who played for the Atlas Lions in the 70s, scored the only goal against Burkina Faso from a freekick and was a constant threat from set-pieces.
Do or die for Uganda
Following their 2-0 loss to Senegal, the Crested Cranes are desperate for a positive result. While not technically out of the tournament, if the East Africans lose today they would require a high scoring win in their final game while relying on other results going their way to squeeze out of the group stage.
They showed that they have enough about them to trouble the hosts as the losing score line did not reflect on how close the CECAFA champions came to scoring against Senegal. Uganda surprised many viewers with their highly technical brand of football.
Their midfield was on top against Senegal and they often strung some good football together. They hit the woodwork twice and if were not for some Thiaba Sene heroics in goal, they could’ve come away with something.
Both sides play a very similar style of football and it is expected to be a very different type of game to the match day one fixtures in Group A. Morocco will come into the match as heavy favourites, but they showed that there is a nervous underbelly to the side. If Uganda can hold on, they will fancy themselves to score and get a result.
What they said
Morocco head coach Reynald Pedros:
“I think there is double stakes. Get the 3 points which means we’re probably qualified for the qf. This said I don’t think it will be no surprise that this will be a good game. Uganda are a good team we will have to focus on what we can do and play a good game to win against Uganda. The matches are very close together, there is not much time to work between games which might becomes an important factor later but for today we are focused on tomorrow’s game even if Uganda lost their first game we will respect them.”
Uganda captain Ruth Aturo:
“Our Crested Cranes as a team, we just played under a very big crowd like when we played CECAFA championship. I believe that my girls can contain the pressure. We are not scared of anything because yes Morocco is a good team right. They’ll maybe have the home advantage but we’re are not going to play under pressure because we’re going to play our own game as Uganda Crested Cranes and I believe that we are better as well that is why were are still in the tournament.”