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African Teams Winless in FIFA Women’s World Cup Openers

Moroccan players express disgruntlement after referee Tori Penso validated a goal scored by German forward Alexandra Popp in the 39th minute of their opening Group H 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup clash held in Melbourne, Australia, July 24, 2023.

All African teams playing at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand failed to secure victory in their opening matches of the global football tournament.

Morocco’s "Atlas Lionesses" Monday played their debut fixture leaving fans hearts shattered after losing 6-0 to Germany.

The Atlas Lionesses were the final African team to kick off their 2023 World Cup campaign — coming after South Africa lost 2-1 to Sweden, Zambia lost 5-0 to Japan and Nigeria drew 0-0 to Canada.

Despite the team's opening performances, team officials said they remained confident about their qualification into the next round of the tournament.

Bruce Mwape, coach of Zambia’s "Copper Queens," acknowledged his team had not played well against Japan but expressed confidence in a positive result for their remaining Group C fixtures.

"It's not the end of the world, I'm sure we can still come back and fight for a qualification spot," Mwape said speaking to reporters Saturday.

The Copper Queens can qualify for the next round of the World Cup if they win their final fixtures against Spain and Costa Rica.

Desiree Ellis, coach of South Africa’s "Banyana Banyana," echoed Mwape’s sentiments.

Ellis said her team has world class players that can produce a positive result in their remaining games against Argentina and Italy.

"I think we’re more mature now," Ellis said, adding, "players are playing at good clubs abroad, and our league is getting better."

Nigeria's "Super Falcons" were the only African team to secure a point in their opening fixture of the World Cup after their goalless draw to Canada.

The Super Falcons are third in Group B and can secure a place in the next round of the tournament if they avoid defeat in their upcoming fixtures against Australia and Ireland.

The United States, also known as the Stars and Stripes, are the reigning FIFA Women's World Cup champions and are favorites to win this year's tournament.

The Stars and Stripes beat Vietnam 3-0 in their opening fixture. The U.S. team is on a quest for a three-peat, which would be the first at a women's or men's FIFA World Cup.

This report was compiled by VOA’s Mike Hove with information from Reuters and Agence France-Presse.