What you need to know:
- Tunisia qualified for this edition by beating Egypt 7-2 on aggregate and then eliminating two-time Wafcon champions Equatorial Guinea 7-3 on aggregate in the final qualification round
Tunisia could be the Women Africa Cup of Nations (Wafcon) dark horses if their reputation coming into the tournament is anything to go by. The Carthage Eagles are just at their second Wafcon and it has come 14 years after that 2008 group stage finish in Equatorial Guinea.
They shockingly held Nigeria to a 0-0 draw then before going out to narrow losses against South Africa (2-1) and Ghana (3-2).Tunisia qualified for this edition by beating Egypt 7-2 on aggregate and then eliminating two-time Wafcon champions Equatorial Guinea 7-3 on aggregate in the final qualification round.
They are now top of Group B after a flying 4-1 win over Togo in their tournament opener last Sunday.
The guarantee seems to be that Tunisia, who face Zambia in their second Group B encounter tonight at Stade Mohammed V in Casablanca, score goals.
Their forward Mariem Houij was the top scorer in qualify ing and continued the trend with a first minute goal against Togo before Sabrine Ellouzi bagged a hattrick.
No Banda, who starts the party?
Zambia, on the other hand, will be buoyed by their 0-0 draw with Cameroon after an embarrassing 5-0 loss to Uganda before the tournament. Although that Cameroon result should not entirely be seen through rose-tinted glasses as the Indomitable Lionesses reportedly have 19 Wafcon debutants in their squad.
Zambia, who recently represented Africa at the Olympics and were said to be one of the teams to watch prior to the tournament, need to first of all stop the Eagles from flying and then find goals of their own.
The exclusion of their pacey forward Barbara Banda for what Caf said are “medical reasons” and what the media allege are “high levels of testosterone” in her body, does not help matters as it deprives Zambia of a serious goal getter.
However, they will be thankful to have Lubandji Ochumba Oseke and Siomala Mapepa, who were suspended from the first game for accumulated yellow cards during qualification. Meanwhile, Togo seemed to play with reckless abandon, looking like a team enjoying and making most of their achievement of making their first Wafcon, against Tunisia.