Banyana qualify for AWC as Comoros withdraw

Sasol Banyana Banyana has qualified for the 9th Edition of the 2014 African Women’s Championship (AWC) following the withdrawal of Comoros on Tuesday, 27 May.

The Football Federation from the Island wrote a letter to the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to ask for a withdrawal after they lost the first leg of qualifiers 13-0 on Friday, 25 May.

Comoros was expected to travel to South Africa next week for the second leg scheduled for Saturday, 7 June.

The 2014 African Women’s Championship will be held in Namibia from 11-25 October.

The tournament is also been used as qualification for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, with the top three qualifying for the finals in Canada.

“It is very unfortunate that Comoros had to withdraw from the qualifiers as it is not very good for the development of football in Africa. Even though I understand where they are coming from, I believe coming here to play their match would have been more beneficial for them as they would have learned a few other things,” said Banyana Banyana head coach Vera Pauw on hearing the news.

“But on the other hand I am quite ecstatic for qualifying for AWC in my first stint with Banyana Banyana, and I believe it is something worth celebrating. I am really looking forward to the tournament, but we should not forget the bigger picture is to qualify for the Women’s World Cup in Canada. Going to AWC means we are a step closer to achieving that dream.”

Pauw said the withdrawal has not dented her preparation programme.

“Just yesterday (Monday, 26 May) we were sitting down mapping the way forward and fine-tuning our programme. Despite the setback of Comoros not coming, we are already looking for a match to play for that weekend because we need to keep the girls active. We will still be in camp regardless,” added Pauw.