'It's a shame!' - Barcelona star Oshoala slams Caf over undervaluing African women's football

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Asisat Oshoala - Nigeria
Samuel Ahmadu/Goal
The African ruling body resolved to cancel this year's edition of the Women's Cup of Nations, some which the Nigerian star disagrees with

Reigning Africa Women's Player of the Year Asisat Oshoala is disappointed over the decision of the Confederation of Africa Football (Caf) to scrap the 2020 Africa Women's Cup of Nations.

This cancellation means the biennial tournament last held in 2018 will not be held until 2022, which is in contrast with the men 's event, which was slated for 2021 but was moved to 2022.

According to Caf, the move made on Tuesday during its Executive Committee meeting were "due to challenging conditions". The news was greeted with dismay by players, stakeholders and fans.

Earlier, Cameroon and Valerenga striker Ajara Nchout insisted the decision will be a serious setback for women's football, describing the Awcon tournament to be "more than a competition".

Adding her voice, the Nigeria captain and Barcelona striker feels the decision is a "big slap" on women's football in Africa, urging the Ahmad Ahmad-led administration to prioritise their interest in the sport.

"It is not looking good for women's football in Africa when you struggle to get a host nation for a continental tournament every two years," Oshoala told BBC Africa in an Instagram interview.

"We cannot be at this level in 2020. It is a shame. Caf needs to go back to their drawing board to make sure they fix women's football in one of their top priorities. 

"They have to prioritise marketing women's football. These things are happening in Europe, the Women's Champions League or the Euro tournaments are still going to go on and will not be cancelled.

"I think moving the men tournament to 2022 means they are not going to be ready for that year calendar. Same with Europe, you cannot scarp a continental tournament and it is a big slap on our face. 

"If you're moving forward to some time in 2021, it is okay but to completely cancel it, we need a proper explanation. This is more like taking five steps forward and tsking 10 steps backward. 

"Going to the World Cup with two teams going through to the Round of 16 was good for us and showed we are improving.

"Before the next edition, we should have two Awcon to prepare ourselves but cancelling one shows there are no plans for the national teams in 2021 calendar outside the Women's Champions League. 

"Caf needs to understand the women teams are not just representing their countries at the World Cup but the whole continent. 

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"So, we also need more support from Caf and not just our national federations. The cancellation is not going to be helpful as teams will face two to three years of no competition before the 2023 Women's World Cup."

With the next Awcon set for 2022, the Super Falcons may face several months of inactivity, having last regrouped in October for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games qualifier against Cote d'Ivoire.

Nigeria will miss the chance to defend the African title they won two years ago in Ghana this year, having won nine of the previous 11 editions, including the last three tournaments.

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