Guinea has been stripped of the rights to host the 2025 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) announced on Saturday.
This development means a fresh bidding for the tournament’s hosting rights is set to be reopened on Saturday.
The rights withdrawal followed a meeting on Friday in Conakry between Guinea’s interim president, Col. Mamady Doumbouya, and CAF President Patrice Motsepe.
The meeting had discussed the withdrawal after the west African country, among the poorest of the continent, said it was not ready to host the 24-nation tournament.
Guinea’s inability was due to its infrastructure and facilities not being ready to host a world-class AFCON competition.
Motsepe was accompanied during his meeting with the Guinean leader by CAF General Secretary, Véron Mosengo-Omba.The development is expected to ginger Guinea into working towards bidding with other competing nations for the 2024 African Nations Championship (CHAN).
The 2022 edition of CHAN is being hosted by Algeria in 2023.The CAF Executive Committee will be meeting on Saturday in Algiers, Algeria and will take a decision to re-open the bidding process for the 2025 AFCON.
The 2023 AFCON is already scheduled to hold in Côte d’Ivoire.
Some football stakeholders have expressed mixed reactions to the order of a Federal High Court in Abuja, restraining the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) from holding its elective congress.
A Federal High Court, Abuja, had on Thursday, restrained the Minister of Youth and Sports, Sunday Dare and NFF President, Amaju Pinnick from conducting the NFF executive election scheduled for Sept. 30 in Benin, Edo. Justice Inyang Ekwo, in a ruling on an ex-parte motion moved by counsel for the claimants, Celsus Ukpong, ordered the minister, Pinnick or any person, acting on their instruction, to maintain the status quo.
This he said was pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction.
Speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria on Friday, a cross section said the court order was necessary, others said it was uncalled for, adding that the timing was wrong.
Victor Baribote, a former Chairman of the Nigeria Premier League (NPL), said that the court order was necessary after the NFF failed to follow the demands of the Players Union since 2021. Baribote who is also a second to the suit against the NFF, said that the position of the Players Union was also highlighted by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“The court order is in respect of equal representation amongst the five statutory members which has been communicated to the NFF in 2021 by the Players Union in writing.
“This is in line with the relevant provisions of the Statutes of NFF, of which Buhari also buttressed same position through the Minister of Sports which the NFF ignored.
“Let us amend the Statutes where one member amongst the five is having 37 votes, while the remaining four are having seven that is what that order is saying.
“All we are saying is that, let the right things be done so that we can sanitise the system that some of us are so passionate about,” he said.
Christopher Molokwu, a Sports journalist, on his part said he didn’t see anything wrong with the court order but however said he was worried about the timing.
“While I see the wisdom in this injunction, I can’t help but wonder if it is not coming at the wrong time.
“Congress will have to seat to ratify this request and the next congress is expected to be an elective one.
So what’s the way forward?
“All I am trying to say is that a fire brigade approach at election periods is not good enough for our integrity,” he said.
Chinedum Ohanusi, a Sports journalist said all the fears raised about a possible FIFA ban was unrealistic, adding “he who is down already, fear no fall anymore.
” “All these talks about FIFA sanction do not hold water.
I don’t think we will get to FIFA sanctions, if we handle the issue professionally.
“However, we may not escape a normalisation committee of FIFA, but some people got to pay for it at the end.
“Besides, with the Super Eagles not qualifying for the World Cup and unable to make it past the group stage of the AFCON in Cameroon.
“Also coupled with Falcons dismal outing in Morocco, as well as Falconets misfiring at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica; we are already serving a technical suspension.
“So, what are we talking about?
There is no better time than now to get it right.
So, if it takes the court to restrain the NFF Elective congress from taking place, so be it,” he said.
Patrick Ngwaogu, a former Sporting Director of Abia Warriors FC, said the case was a straight forward one and not as complicated as is been perceived in some quarters.
“This is a very straight forward case; the court has restrained all the parties from organising any election into the executive committee of the NFF and ordered that status quo should remain until the case is determined.
“The implication is that those looking forward to NFF Board to leave office on Sept. 30, will have to wait a little longer,” he said.
Ngwaogu who is also a former first Vice Chairman of FCT Football Association, explained that the status quo ‘order’ referred to was for things to return to where it was before then.
He stressed that the ‘order’ also meant Amaju would have to be in office until such a time that the case would be determined.
“Unless, the unexpected happens, which I don’t know where it will come from, Pinnick will remain the president of NFF beyond Sept. 30. “The good thing is that if the case scales through, maybe the Congress of the NFF will be expanded to enable other stakeholders to come into it,” he said.
A leading sports betting and digital entertainment company, BetKing, reiterated on Tuesday its commitment to strengthening corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs for the growth and development of the country. The company also launched its betking mobile lite app, which allows its customers to stay on top of betting odds.Gossy Ukanwoke, CEO of BetKing, had this to say during a press conference in Lagos, marking the brand's fourth anniversary.Ukanwoke said the company will remain committed to CSR initiatives that will enhance the country's growth and development.He listed BetKing's CSR focus areas such as business and commercial support, youth training and education, as well as sports.“Playing in Nigeria for the last four years has been rewarding for our customers, who are our main focus and we are proud of that.“We are still waiting for one of our lucky fans to win the third car. We also live up to our commitment to corporate social responsibility.“We reached many communities during the first wave of the pandemic and we intend to continue reaching as many communities as possible.Ukanwoke also wished the Nigerian Super Eagles success in the upcoming World Cup play-off against the Ghana Black Stars.Also speaking, Dare Kafar, head of marketing, told the Nigerian News Agency (NAN) that the Super Eagles' quest to qualify for the World Cup will give customers the chance to win multiple prizes."We have a lot of giveaways for our customers and the goal is for everyone to be a winner, so our chances are good," Kafar said.BetKing Director Tony Pinheiro (SAN) praised the company's customers and employees for making the brand a household name.“I am proud of our brand and what we have achieved in four years, impacting the lives of our customers."We are a brand aware of our CSR and we intend to continue putting smiles on faces," said Pinheiro.Likewise, Oladapo Olasope, chief financial officer of BetKing, said that the company is committed to guaranteeing its transparency.
Musa Amadu, a presidential aspirant in the upcoming Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Elective Congress, on Tuesday harped on the need to get it right in the country’s football administration.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Amadu made the remarks during his official declaration to run for the office of NFF President in the federation’s forthcoming elective congress.
The NFF Congress had adopted Sept. 30 as date for its 2022 Elective Congress in Benin City at the end of its 77th General Assembly held in Lagos on Thursday.
Amadu who is a former NFF General Secretary, said his plan to ensure that things were gotten right in the administration of football in the country from 2022 had been outlined in his 22-point agenda.
“My aim is to ensure that the 22 points are well harnessed to build a complete and totally unique Nigerian football culture where everyone associated with the game is a stakeholder.
“We want to build an image of Nigerian football that will make the Nigerian person walk tall in the street anywhere in the world.
“We want to create opportunities for people who hitherto would not have had a chance to be anywhere near a football field.
“We will create job opportunities that will take our youths off the streets, football opportunities that will empower every sector of our society and create gainful employment.
“And what about those that are in the game?
We want to create the real feel-good factor, a sense of belonging in the long run.
“In short, for those that come into contact with the game and those who would not have had the chance, we will give life-defining experiences that will be unforgettable,” he said.
The former NFF General Secretary also said part of his plans was to develop the game at the grassroots.
He promised to work closely with the State Football Associations to unearth the best talents in the game and give them a future.
“We will work closely with the State FAs to enhance the principle of sports and fitness in our schools, finding the best talents not only on the playing field, but also in all other areas of football management and operations,” Amadu said.
He lamented the fact that while Nigeria was blessed with almost 1,000 footballers playing in Europe’s top leagues all over, it has only won three Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) trophies.
The former NFF General Secretary said it was time to bring those glory days of Nigerian football back, adding that he would not relent until trophies were won for the country.
“Our players are doing well in their various clubs, (Victor) Osimhen is banging in goals, as is (Emmanuel) Dennis, whose transfer fee is a staggering 20 million pounds.
“(Wilfred) Ndidi is commanding the midfield, and (Calvin) Bassey is the young one we are all proud of.
There are many more, yet we are not ranked at the top of the game in Africa.
“No disrespect to other nations, but Nigeria has to take a pride of place at the elite level, making podium appearances at most tournaments at all levels.
“I will set up a National Teams Management Board that will oversee all Team Nigeria matters beyond just the playing side of things, and bring back the glory days.
“Those days that we got used to while I was General Secretary must come back!
We just need to get it right,” he said.
In terms of the development of women’s football in the country, he said that the women and girls who had brought pride to the nation on and outside the pitch deserved better.
He said that there was a need to give women football at the domestic level the funding it deserves.
”We will drive sponsorship towards the country’s products, league and officials by engaging proven consultants with integrity.
“We dominated women’s football in Africa for so long, so much so that we assumed it was our birthright.
“Now we have seen the reality, the reality is that the gap is closing on us.
“We need to step up our game, and give women’s football what it is due.
Not just for the Super Falcons, but the further development of women’s football in Nigeria.
“The global debate on gender pay disparity is gaining ground, and we will look at it actively with respect to our women teams,” Amadu said.
He promised that a Musa Amadu Presidency would be accountable to the nation, adding that the NFF’s relationship with the government was also key.
“We always run to government when we need funding for our projects, but we cry foul when they show an interest in what we are doing and call it interference.
“We are partners in progress and will maintain partnership and create an Liaison structure that is workable, as has been working in many countries I have had the opportunity to visit and understudy.
“We will be transparent and judicious in our use of the FIFA Forward Funds that come from Zurich, and work very hard to draw sponsorship to supplement what FIFA does for us.
“We will operate more transparently to earn the trust of our stakeholders, sponsors, government and ultimately the over 200 million Nigerians who love the round leather game,” Amadu said.
Former Minister of Youth and Sports Development Bolaji Abdullahi says the problem of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) is getting immediate results and not the development of the game.
Abdullahi, who is the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) candidate for Kwara Central Senatorial District for the 2023 general election, made the declaration on Wednesday in Ilorin.
He spoke at the 33rd Media Parliament of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Kwara council, held at the NUJ Press Centre, Ilorin.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Media Parliament was themed “Retooling Nigeria for Emerging Challenges”.
According to him, the problem of the NFF is that they are too focused on getting immediate results, rather than strengthening the institutions that will ensure total development of the game from the grassroots.
Abdullahi, who was the minister of sports when the Super Eagles won the 2013 Nations Cup, 19 years after doing same, said that the fact that it took the nation that long to win it again was a reflection of total neglect of the development culture in football in Nigeria.
“We won the Nations Cup in 1994 and why didn’t we win the following edition?
Waiting for another 19 years to do so was not good enough.
And again, how we won the AFCON in 2013 is a story for another day,” he said.
The former minister, who was the brain behind the introduction of the youth development system, tagged National Youth Games in 2013, also said that the Games was a deliberate plan to build athletes for the future, a platform which is yielding positive results today.
“We critically analysed the National Sports Festival, which accommodates young and older atheletes, and discovered that there was the need to create a separate platform for the younger ones to grow, and that was how we came about the National Youth Games, which has no doubt, changed the sports development system in the country,” Abdullahi said.
He said that achieving podium success has to do with total commitment, and that it would take an athlete about 10,000 hours of training, especially doing so from at least, seven years of age.
Kalidou Koulibaly has condemned plans by Napoli president, Aurelio De Laurentiis to tell new signings they must agree not to skip the Africa Cup of Nations.
De Laurentiis proposed the controversial policy on Tuesday, saying that any African player who joined the Serie A club should make a commitment to skip the tournament.
It remains to be seen whether he goes through with the plan, or whether it is enforceable.
The next AFCON is due to be played in Ivory Coast in January 2024. Last season, Napoli were without Cameroon international Andre-Franck Zambo Anguissa and Senegal defender Koulibaly as they represented their nations in the tournament that took place in January and February.
Koulibaly, who had since moved on to Chelsea FC, felt De Laurentiis was out of line with his remarks, and claimed the views would not be endorsed by many others at the club.
“Its up to him if he wanted to tell this, but for me the most important thing is to respect everybody,’’ Koulibaly told a news conference in London.
“When I played there, I was playing also for Senegal, and I won the AFCON with Senegal when I was playing with Napoli.
“Its true that it was a difficult moment for them when we went to AFCON, but we won it and I’m really happy today.
’’ Koulibaly said: “you cannot speak for African national teams like this, I think.
You have to have respect, like you have for other national teams.
“As captain of Senegal, I think that this is not a good way to speak about African national teams.
“But I respect what he thinks.
If he thinks the team can play without African players, its up to him.
But I think not everybody has the same idea as him at the club.
“I know that some people who are part of this society and team do not have the same idea as him.
Its not the idea of the society or the city, because the city is very respectful.
Fans in Ebonyi joined millions across the country and the world on Monday to celebrate football maestro and former Super Eagles skipper, Kanu Nwankwo, as he turned 46. The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the FIFA U-17 world cup winner had 86 caps for Nigeria between 1994 and 2010, scoring 13 goals in the process.
The two-time African Footballer of the Year winner also had illustrious football careers with defunct Iwuanyanwu Nationale Football Club of Owerri, Ajax Amsterdam of Holland and Arsenal of England.
Fans who spoke with NAN in Abakaliki felicitated with “Papillo’’ and wished him more fruitful years ahead.
Maxwell Anuka, Salt City FC of Abakaliki player, hailed Kanu for being inspirational to youths which had made many of them to be positively engaged.
“I raptly listened to Kanu telling his life story as a resource person during the #EndSARS youth summit organised by the Ebonyi government in 2021. “I became instantly motivated and took a step towards my future after listening to his rags to riches story,’’ Anuka said.
Dr Jude Mbam, an Educationist described Kanu as a legend, noting that what he could not attain academically, he made up with football successes.
“Kanu won FIFA U-17 world cup medal, UEFA Champions League medal and an Olympic Games football gold medal.
“He also won African Cup of Nations (AFCON) silver medal, four AFCON bronze medals and alongside Finidi George, was the first Nigerian to win the prestigious UEFA Champions League,’’ Mbam said.
Kelechi Ekeledo, a journalist and Arsenal FC fan commended Kanu for being the symbol of support which several Nigerians have for the top English side.
“Kanu played 197 times for the north London side, scoring 44 goals and was part of the invincible team that did not lose any match in the 2003-04 English Premier League season.
“This birthday celebration is auspicious because it is coming at the start of the new football season with Arsenal highly impressive in its pre-season tour,’’ he said.
Mrs Bridget Oleru, a teacher and football enthusiast described Kanu as a humanitarian who had impacted positively on peoples’ lives, especially the less-privileged.
“The Kanu Heart Foundation assisted many patients with heart-related ailments and this is coupled with other philanthropic gestures.
“Kanu is also a shining example of prudent celebrities who effectively managed the demands of stardom to still remain financially solvent on retirement,’’ Oleru said.
The Executive Committee of Confederation of African Football (CAF) has approved a revised Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2023 qualification calendar.
The committee, in a statement on the confederation’s website, said this was because of its commitment to allowing the African nations heading to the 2022 FIFA World Cup to prepare adequately.
“As a result of this, the 2023 AFCON Match Day Three and Match Day Four qualifiers earlier scheduled for September have been moved to from March 20 to March 28, 2023,” it said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Match Day Five will now be from June 12 to June 20, 2023. Match Day Six will be played from Sept. 4 to Sept. 12, 2023. NAN reports that the 2023 AFCON will be played from January to February in 2024 in Cote d’Ivoire.
Football Kings of West Coast Football Kings of West Coast By Chukwuemeka Opara, News Agency of Nigeria Nigerian soccer fans direly needed succour when the Super Eagles, bungled a veritable opportunity to appear in its seventh World Cup final in Qatar.
The Eagles disastrously drew 1-1 with the Black Stars of Ghana in Abuja on March 29, in one of the African playoffs for the November, 2022 mundial.
The team had drawn 0-0 with the Ghanians four days earlier in Kumasi thereby eliminated on the infamous away goals rule.
The fans were aghast, with those inside the Moshood Abiola Stadium, Abuja, going berserk.
They destroyed stadium facilities and anger was palpable across the nation.
After darkness comes light, as the old adage goes.
But there seemed to be no light at the end of this tunnel.
The distraught fans needed succour.
The Eagles next engagements were two international friendlies against World Cup bound Mexico and Ecuador in the United States of America in May and AFCON 2023 qualifiers against Sierra Leone and Sao Tome in June. There were however two sub-regional youth competitions in between: The West African Football Union (WAFU) Zone B, U-17 and U-20 championships.
In this two competitions to be hosted in Niamey, Niger Republic and Cape Coast, Ghana respectively, the two finalists would qualify for the African U-20 and U-17 championships in 2023. These were competitions of lesser magnitude, but to an average Nigerian football fan, every victory mattered.
The question sprouted: Would the Flying Eagles and Golden Eaglets be ready?
The apprehension was somewhat confirmed.
The Flying Eagles only resumed camping with barely three weeks to the competition in May. Coach Ladan Bosso hurriedly invited players to camp.
He lamented the shortness of the preparatory period, but vowed to present a team which would spring surprises.
Coach Nduka Ugbade, also lamented, but made the same promise on the Golden Eaglets.
To the average Nigeria fan, the preparatory period was too short for both teams to make impact.
The interest waned.
The Flying Eagles however, kicked off the competition in Niamey with a 2-0 spanking of defending champions Ghana on May 8. The team drew 2-2 with Burkina Faso to qualify for the semi-finals, where it beat an enterprising Ivorian team 2-1 to qualify for the final.
This final qualification also earned it a berth at the African U-20 championships in Egypt in 2023. The team outclassed Benin Republic 3-1 in the final to win the competition.
The triumph took many fans by surprise.
Joy was restored even if on a minute scale.
The wish was for the Golden Eaglets to follow suit in June. The joy could perhaps be restored in full.
The Eaglets fortunately took the cue and took the WAFU Zone B, U-17 competition by storm.
The team on June 11, whitewashed hosts Ghana 4-2. It defeated Togo 3-1 to qualify for the semifinal where it humbled Cote d’ Ivoire 3-1. The team sensationally beat a stubborn Burkina Faso 2-1 in the final to win the competition.
Thus, the new kings of the West African sub region football had emerged.
The News Agency of Nigeria sought the views of football fans in Ebonyi on both teams and steps to be taken by relevant authorities to ensure that the kingship extends to the African continent and perhaps, the world.
Chaka Nweze, Pioneer Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ebonyi congratulated the Golden Eaglets for the feat, noting that they duly followed the footsteps of their immediate seniors, the Flying Eagles.
Nweze, also former Chairman of Ohaozara Local Goverment Area of the state, said the victories of both teams showed that the astute ‘can do’ spirit of Nigerians always stand them out among their peers.
Nweze said both teams showed astuteness in their resolve to win the competitions right from the preparations.
“I watched the Flying Eagles training in Abuja before the competition.
Despite the short period of preparation, they showed tenacity to succeed.
One could see aggression, commitment and efficacy in their approach.
“They dismembered teams they played in their trial matches.
The team continued from where it stopped at the competition proper and beat all opponents to emerge champions,” he said.
The soccer enthusiast said that the Golden Eaglets had a similar experience that was even more precarious.
Bosso had the luxury of picking more established players for the Flying Eagles, but Ugbade had the challenge of raising a team from a pool of rookies who are in schools and academies.
“Ugbade who captained the Eaglets to win the inaugural FIFA Kodak U-16 World Cup in 1985, also contended with the initial setback of the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).
Most of his first team players reportedly failed the MRI scan and he had to raise a formidable team within such a short period,” he said.
The former Super Eagles fullback still raised a team which tore opponents to tatters in the trial matches and in the regional championship in Ghana, Nweze noted.
He advised coaches of both teams to sustain such domineering posture when they compete at the CAF and world championships.
Brendan Okafor, a football historian, also commended both teams for their splendid performances at the sub regional competitions and urged them to follow the steps of their predecessors who reigned in the continent and in the world.
Okafor recalled that the national youth teams which dominated the sub region in respective competitions in the past, also did so in continental and world competitions.
“The Flying Eagles that won bronze at the World Youth Championship in 1985 were the best in the sub region and won the African Youth Championship.
“The competition was then contested on a home and away basis.
The 1989 set to the competition also won the African championship then called the ‘Tessema Cup’ and gallantly lost to Portugal in the final of the World Youth Championship in Saudi Arabia.
“The 2005 set also conquered Africa en route another silver medal win at the World Youth Championship in Holland.
“The Golden Eaglets squad that took the world by storm and won the inaugural FIFA U-16 World Cup in China in 1985 were the best in Africa.
So also were the squads which also conquered the world in Japan 1993, South Korea 2007, United Arab Emirates 2013 and Chile 2015,” he said.
Okafor advised that just as the above mentioned successful teams, the coaches should retain the bulk of the players who ruled the sub region.
“We floundered in the past when teams were disbanded or their blending arrangements distorted before major competitions.
“The Flying Eagles and Golden Eaglets coaches must had noticed areas of weakness and should strengthen the affected departments in their teams.
They must ensure that the players who would be drafted to fortify the teams are better than the ones they are replacing.
“There should be no place for quota system in the set-ups.
The best players, no matter their geo-political inclinations should be selected.
Undue interferences from political and related interests should be jettisoned,” he said.
Martin Agunanne, former Rangers International Feeders team player, praised the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) for appointing experienced and competent coaches for both national teams.
“Coach Ladan Bosso had garnered enough experience to assemble a formidable team.
Having failed with the Flying Eagles in 2007 and 2020, Bosso knew that this might be his last opportunity to impress as a national team handler.
“He quickly set to work with the present team and with less than three weeks to the competition in Niger Republic, produced a team that oozed talents from all departments.
“Nduka Ugbade follows in the same streak.
He was an assistant to Manu Garba when the Eaglets conquered the world in 2013. “He subsequently moved with Garba yet as assistant to the Flying Eagles in 2015. It is instructive to note that Emmanuel Amuneke who was also an assistant to Garba in 2013, went on to defend the title as the Eaglets head coach in 2015,” he said.
Agunanne advised both coaches to monitor the players who ensured victories for their teams.
“The period between these periods of conquests and the continental championships in 2023 is far and the players if not monitored, might derail.
“The players’ progress at their various clubs should be monitored to ensure that they stay fit and focused because the opposition at the continental championships would be tougher.
“The coaches should be in steady contact with the various clubs where these players ply their trades to ensure they are ready to conquer Africa and the world.
“The coaches should also use this free period to scout for players to fortify areas of deficiency and not to distort the laid down team building process,” he said.
Mrs Jane Ofoke, a teacher and football enthusiast, called for prayers and adequate support for both teams as they represent the hope of happiness.
“Between the World Cup qualification ouster and the recent floundering of the Super Falcons in the recently concluded African Women Cup of Nations (AWCON) in Morocco, football fans had been disillusioned over our teams’ performances.
“Successes in the African U-20 and U-17 championships in 2023 will bring joy to Nigerians and keep the country in good stead of credible performances at both world championships.
The players need prayers to maintain their current form and be free from injuries.
“The NFF and the sports ministry should adequately motivate the players and officials.
A situation where the Golden Eaglets were reportedly rewarded with N40, 000 for their conquest in Ghana is appalling.
It will not motivate the players.
“The only motivating factor to them will be to excel at the competitions, to secure lucrative deals either at home or abroad.
“The coaches of both teams should be sent to refresher courses abroad to gain more exposure and be in tune with modern dynamics of the game.
Redundancy will definitely affect their abilities to compete at the continental and world levels,” he said.
Unarguably, with motivation, the two teams will maintain their lead as the Football Kings of the West Coast.
(NANFeatures) ** If used, please credit the writer as well as the News Agency of Nigeria .
South Africa’s Banyana Banyana on Saturday defeated hosts Atlas Lionesses of Morocco 2-1 in the final match of the 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON) in Rabat.
The win helped them to their first title success in the tournament’s history, after Hildah Magaia scored twice within eight minutes in the second half after the hour mark.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that this ended a run of five finals without success for Banyana Banyana, who completed this tournament with a 100 per cent record.
This was after they secured qualification to next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup finals in Australia and New Zealand.
Magaia tapped in an excellent cutback from Jermaine Seoposenwe, who ran onto a long ball out of defence.
It helped her to create the opening goal as she held off the defence to provide an expert pass in the 63rd minute.
It took the sting out of a frenzied atmosphere created by a sell-out crowd at the Prince Moulay Abdallah Stadium.
This was the venue where only weeks earlier South Africa’s men had lost to Morocco in a 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier.
Magaia then doubled the lead in the 71st minute with another close finish, this time from a cross out wide from Karabo Dhlamini which Morocco’s defence failed to cut out.
But a lapse in concentration saw South Africa lose possession.
It offered Morocco hope of a comeback as Rosella Ayane pulled one back in the 80th minute after being set up by Fatima Tagnaout.
This meant an anxious last 10 minutes for Desiree Ellis’ team —- plus another nine minutes of referee’s time added on —- before they could get their hands on the trophy.
The game started with a high tempo, fueled by the large crowd who greeted every Moroccan touch with a cheer and Banyana move with a chorus of whistles.
After 11 minutes, there was a muted shout for a penalty kick, but while Tagnaout’s challenge on Magaia in her own penalty area was risky, it proved expertly timed.
Both sides pressed high to allow little space for chances and, as a result, the first 30 minutes went by without any goalscoring opportunity.
South Africa had a chance with a long-range free-kick in the 32nd minute which Nomvula Kgoale hit onto the roof of the net.
Three minutes later Seoposenwe played through an inch-perfect pass for Magaia, but her left-footed effort was blocked by a brave save by home goalkeeper Khadija Er-Rmichi.
Magaia had another chance with a free-kick five minutes before the break.
But she was unable to properly bend the ball and was well off target with what looked like a good opportunity.
Morocco had their first real effort a minute later for tall English-born striker Ayane, who tried to rag the ball from behind her and was unable to find the target.
The second half was a close affair until Magaia opened scoring, suddenly offering the occasion a rip-roaring finale.