On Saturday, Africa was definitively eliminated out of the Women’s World Cup, after Cameroon — the last African team standing — lost to China, according to BBC.
Chinese player Wang Shanshan‘s goal in the 12th minute of the game sealed Cameroon’s fate, with Cameroon coach Enow Ngachu lamenting, “It’s a bad day for the Cameroon national side. We came up against a very good team.”
Speaking to their challenges in the game against China, Coach Ngachu cited the weather as an equally formidable challenge, “We didn’t expect cold weather and rain; it was a handicap for our team.
“It’s unfortunate we haven’t been training on surfaces that are very slippery.”
An African team hasn’t made it out of the group stages of the Women’s World Cup since Nigeria first achieved it in 1999.
Still, the Indomitable Lionesses, who had been referred to as “newcomers” to the competition, gave an impressive showing, after they beat Ecuador (6-0) and Switzerland (2-1).
Their only other loss was to Japan (1-0).
In addition to Nigeria being eliminated earlier — even though they had a stellar showing against Sweden (3-3), the Ivory Coast suffered painful defeats against Germany (10-0), Thailand (3-2), and Norway (3-1).
Of her team’s performance, Ivorian Coach Clementine Toure appealed to Africa to support its teams more effectively.
“We wanted to do well in important matches like the one against Germany. We arrived 72 hours before the game and were very tired from a long journey of 15 hours with jet lag.
“Those are the things we would like to correct: to arrive earlier and to play preparation games. We haven’t been able to play friendly games and this has hurt us.
“I want to make an appeal to not only our federation, but to all of Africa, that women’s football has arrived.
“We believe in our women. We have a good team. Ivory Coast showed it deserves a place in the World Cup. But we also deserved to be better prepared. We didn’t deserve to be humiliated.”
Coach Ngachu reverberated Toure’s sentiments, regarding African team’s lack of support, saying, “We need to develop women’s football in Africa. We need good organization. We also need to create as many clubs as possible. If we could have sponsorship, it would be good.
“We have the talented players. The problem African nations face is preparation. The day we are prepared well, an African nation will be able to win the World Cup.
“We hope that with this performance, many things will change not just in Cameroon, but in Africa.”
Watch highlights of the match here: