Uganda and Rwanda will face off in an exciting East African showdown as the draw for the Women’s Olympic football qualifiers was announced.
The tournament, which will determine the two teams that will secure their tickets to the Paris 2024 Women’s Olympic Football Tournament, features a total of 25 teams.
The draw, conducted in Cairo, Egypt, unveiled an array of captivating matchups in the first qualifying round.
Apart from the Uganda-Rwanda clash, there will be a West African derby between Guinea and Ghana.
Additionally, Burkina Faso will take on Mali in what promises to be another thrilling fixture.
Kenya, unfortunately, will not be participating in the qualifiers due to the lingering effects of the lifted FIFA suspension.
However, Tanzania will step onto the field to face Congo. Other first-round fixtures include Ethiopia against Chad, DR Congo against Mozambique, and Namibia taking on Equatorial Guinea.
Guinea Bissau will lock horns with Benin, while Cote d’Ivoire will face Sierra Leone.
Of the 25 teams, 18 will be involved in the first round. The remaining seven teams, including reigning champions South Africa, who impressed at the TotalEnergies Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON) last year, will join the competition in the second round.
The winners of the first round will advance to a second-round tie involving a total of 16 teams.
From there, eight victorious teams will progress to the third round, followed by the fourth round where the field will be narrowed down to four teams.
The winners of the fourth round will secure qualification for the final tournament.
In the previous Olympic Games held in Tokyo, Japan, Zambia represented Africa, and now they will embark on their journey to potentially secure back-to-back qualifications as they join the competition in the second round.
The first-round matches are scheduled to take place from July 10 to July 18, 2023.
The second round will occur from October 23 to October 31, 2023, while the third round will take place from February 19 to February 28, 2024.
Finally, the fourth and final round will be held between April 1 and April 9, 2024.
The tournament promises to expose the talent in women’s football in Africa, as the teams vie for the coveted opportunity to represent their continent at the Paris 2024 Women’s Olympic Football Tournament.