World Cup berth at stake as Mares take on Morocco

On the hunt: Mares' danger woman, Refilwe Tholakele. PIC CAFONLINE
On the hunt: Mares' danger woman, Refilwe Tholakele. PIC CAFONLINE

The Mares could book a place at the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup by the end of today.

The nation will learn the team's fate around midnight as the Mares face Morocco in a 2022 Women's Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON) quarterfinal tie at the Prince Moulay Abdellah stadium. A win against the hosts will hand the local girls a WAFCON semi-final spot, which will also see Botswana qualify for the World Cup next year. History beckons for the team that has against odds, reached the WAFCON knockout round in their debut appearance.

The Mares squeezed through into the last eight after finishing among the group stages, third-placed teams. The team lost two of their three group stage matches after debuting in the competition with a morale-boosting 4-2 win over Burundi. The local women have not found the back of the net since the win. There is a lot at stake with a bigger field to graze on, as the Mares are playing for the biggest prize in their run in the tournament thus far; a WAFCON semi-final spot and a World Cup berth. However, the team is in for a stern test against Morocco.

The host has had a perfect tournament, reaching the semi-finals after winning all its three group stage ties, scoring five, and only letting in one in the process. The team's skipper, Ghizlane Chebbak is expected to be at the centre of everything Morocco orchestrates. She has scored three of the team's five goals. All her goals have come from set pieces; two free-kicks and one penalty kick.

This is a threat to Gaolethoo ‘Ronaldo’ Nkutlwisang's girls, as she demands a dominant performance from her team. "We are taking one game, one step we go fully, and be dominant," she said. Kick-off is at 10pm.

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