South Africa and Zimbabwe qualified to the Olympics after securing their spots at the 2015 African Women’s Qualification Tournament. In total 18 teams registered to compete where four rounds of two legged series were played where the team with the higher aggregate score advances. The two winning teams qualified to the Olympics. The first games were scheduled to occur on April 24th 2015 while the final games were played on October 18th 2015.
No matches were played in the first round as Liberia and Gabon advanced after Guinea-Bissau and Libya withdrew respectively. There were three more teams which withdrew in the second round, namely Liberia, Tunisia and Mali which gave Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Nigeria a bye to the next round. South Africa and Equatorial Guinea advanced to the third round by winning both of their matches over Gabon and Congo respectively with an aggregate score of 8-2 and 7-0 respectively. A late penalty kick goal by Egypt gave them a tie against Cameroon, but the return leg in Cameroon gave them a 3-0 win and a spot in the third round. The away goal rule was used for Kenya and Zimbabwe as both teams finished 2-2 aggregate against Botswana and Zambia respectively.
In the third round South Africa used a pair of 1-0 wins to defeat Kenya on aggregate. Both games between Cameroon and Ghana ended in draws, but a 2-2 draw in Ghana gave Cameroon the win as they had more away goals as the match went 1-1 in Cameroon. Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea had to go to extra time as both matches ended in 1-1 draws. In the 112th minute it was Genoveva Anonma from Equatorial Guinea which scored to give her nation passage to the final round. The matches between Ivory Coast and Zimbabwe had several twists without a ball ever being kicked. Firstly Zimbabwe was unable to secure passage to the Ivory Coast which meant Ivory Coast was given an automatic 3-0 win. However, Ivory Coast was unable to travel to the return leg thus the match was rescheduled, but then Ivory Coast withdrew from the qualifiers giving Zimbabwe a spot in the final round.
The first match of the fourth and final round was between Cameroon and Zimbabwe. In the first match Zimbabwe took an early lead by a goal from Rudo Neshamba, but two second half goals by Cameroon gave them the 2-1 win in the first leg. The second leg also contained an early goal by Neshamba, but this time Zimbabwe was able to hold onto the lead and won 1-0. Zimbabwe ended up qualifying to the Olympics because they scored more away goals.
The second match was between South Africa and Equatorial Guinea. The first match, held in South Africa led to a goalless draw. The second match was again a very defensively played match and it wasn’t until the 62nd minute where the deadlock was broken as Jermaine Seoposenwe scored to give South Africa the lead. Despite a frantic push from Equatorial Guinea they were unable to score which meant South Africa qualified to their second games in a row.
This will be Zimbabwe’s first major international competition in women’s football. This was also the only qualification event for African nations.
Quotas by Nation
- South Africa – 1
- Zimbabwe – 1
- CAF. Olympic Football Tournament Qualification. Access on October 18 2015.