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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 July, 2004, 12:29 GMT 13:29 UK
West Africa reigns supreme
By Durosimi Thomas
BBC African football correspondent

Ghana's Adjoa Bayor
Bayor is the current African Player of the Year

Nigeria's Super Falcons and Ghana's Black Queens have maintained a vice-like grip on African female football for over a decade.

And it does not appear that the applecart of power will be upset anytime soon.

The Queens set a new goalscoring record in African football after beating Guinea 13-0 in a recent Women's Nations Cup qualifier in Conakry.

Against Guinea, the reigning African footballer of the year Adjoa Bayor, Florence Okoe and Akua Anokyewaa scored three goals each.

Okoe opened the floodgates in the 10th minute and by the time Anokyewaa headed her hat-trick at the half-time whistle, the Black Queens were leading 9-0.

When both sides last met in 1998, Ghana won 19-0 on aggregate, scoring eight times in Conakry.

Nigeria, the current African champions and the continent's representatives at this summer's Olympics in Athens, also thrashed Senegal 8-2 in Dakar over the weekend.

None have been able to threaten West Africa's dominance

Both games were in the first leg of the final round qualifiers for the African Women's Championship (AWC), which will take place in South Africa later this year.

In nearly 15 years of rivalry, Nigeria's Super Falcons - who have won every title since the inception of the AWC - have dominated their Ghanaian arch-rivals, beating them in the finals of the 1998 and 2002 tournaments.

South Africa, Zimbabwe, Angola, Cameroon and DR Congo may have made appreciable strides in the women's game but none have been able to threaten West Africa's dominance.

Nigeria have won every African women's title

Nigeria and Ghana's dominance has been impressive, for the mere fact that it cannot be attributed to superior facilities, organisation or experience.

The status quo can best be explained by drawing parallels with the situation that prevailed in African male football in the 1960's.

Ghana, DR Congo and Egypt, the dominant sides at that time, made other African teams look like toddlers playing in oversized shoes, simply because their talent pool gave them a distinct advantage.

But the gap was eventually closed, as other nations made a concerted effort to effectively compete.

While there is no guarantee that Nigeria and Ghana's pride of place in female football will last for another decade, it would be no surprise if both teams met in the 2004 AWC finals.

But the failure of either side to reach the final stages would be.



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