Women's World Handball 2023: African women still looking for exploits
The Women's World Handball Championship kicked off on Wednesday 29 November. Africa is represented by Angola, Senegal, Cameroon and Congo-Brazzaville. The Portuguese-speakers, who will challenge France on Thursday, remain the continent's best chance, even if Senegal has great potential.
Angola's women's national handball team. © Courtesy of IHF
By: Ndiasse Sambe Follow
If they are not dreaming of the final on 17 December, African countries arrive at this World Cup with the potential to do better than the previous tournaments. Once again, Angola, the best African team of all time (15 African championship titles) seems the best equipped to achieve the biggest feat. For its 17th participation in the World Cup, Eduardo Vivaldo's team will be aiming for better than its 7th place in 2007. But for many observers, the Portuguese-speaking team, a team in transition, will find it difficult to repeat such a feat. Angola "is an opponent on the decline," said Yacine Messaoud, Senegal's coach. They've lost players like (Magda) Cazanga, the cornerstone. There's a bit of renewal. They flew over Africa for a long time. This is no longer the case. They're a team that struggles to be balanced between defense and offense."
The Angolans will not have time to ask themselves questions with a first big match against France on Thursday before crossing Iceland and Slovenia, more modest opponents.
"A small achievement against Croatia... »
On the same day, Congo will face the Czech Republic and Cameroon will face Montenegro. Finalists in the last two AFCONs, the Indomitable Lionesses want to finally reach the second round for their fourth participation. "Our goal is to get to the main round and we think we have what it takes. We're going to give everything we've got and give it our all," said Cameroon coach Bérin Njantou.
For their part, Senegal, who will play in their second World Cup after 2019, feel capable of achieving the feat in the pool they share with Sweden, Croatia, and China. "It's the toughest group with three teams that are of a pretty exceptional level," said Senegalese full-back Gnonsiane Niombla. But the former French international, who became Senegalese last October, thinks her country is capable of creating a surprise, and why not from the start. "We believe in it as hard as we can. Why not do a little feat against Croatia in the first game. I play in a club with a Croatian who told me "You still have a lot of good players". So, they are not serene. I believe in this team. If all the stars are aligned, great things can be done»
Norway, the reigning world champions and two-time European champions, and Denmark, back in the forefront, are among the big favourites for this Women's World Handball Championship, which they host along with Sweden.
Interview by Christophe Diremszian
NewsletterGet all the latest international news straight to your inbox
Keep up to date with all the latest international news by downloading the RFI app
Bolivia: Sebastian Marset, the region's most wanted drug trafficker, continues to taunt the authorities
North Korea sends troops to the border with the South