After supervising the TP Mazembe Women’s Club, the Moroccan coach, Lamia Bouhdi, is preparing to discover the Central African Football Confederation Championship, which qualifies for the CAF Champions League, Côte d’Ivoire 2023.
At the age of 39, the former striker for the Moroccan women’s national team said that she is more motivated than ever to carry out the paper entrusted to her by Congolese club officials.
What attracted you to the TP Mazembe project?
Before arriving in Lubumbashi, I was in charge of the Technical Directorate in Morocco, and I was responsible for the training of female coaches, a position directly related to my duties as inspector at the Confederation of African Football. When I received a call from TP Mazembe, I spoke at length with club officials. The project was of course to supervise the women’s first team, and also to establish an academy for the development of women’s football. I could only accept.
I also needed to challenge myself and get out of my comfort zone, which I can do with TP Mazembe.
You have discovered a new country, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, how is your life in Lubumbashi?
Everything is going well! TP Mazembe is a very professional club. I love the trust the club gives me, especially this cooperation between African countries. It is time for African children to unite for the greatness of our continent. I am very proud to be part of the TP Mazembe family, I love the way we work with the committee, officials and players.
AS OA, AS Ibah and Huracán are your rivals to qualify for the Women’s CAF Champions League.
How do you analyze the level of the Central African Football Association (CAF) regional championship?
To be honest, I know AS OA very well. TP Mazembe faced them in the Women’s African Champions League qualifiers last year. As for AS Ibah and Huracan, they are unknown to us and will be participating for the first time in these qualifiers. However, if they are present at this level, it is because they have arguments to make. Everyone is preparing for the Women’s CAF Champions League, everyone will be ready when the time comes, and it is up to us to do everything we can to come back through qualification.
Besides, how did your team’s preparations go?
The tournament ended last June. Then the players took a vacation. Since our return, we have played a lot of preparatory matches against the junior teams of TP Mazembe, in order to regain the rhythm. Matches against the U-19 team allow us to develop new defensive tactics. Against the U-16 team, our matches against them are devoted to offensive work.
What does the Women’s African Champions League competition mean to you?
It is every coach’s dream to win the CAF Women’s Champions League. This year will be the third edition of this competition. It is very new, but we see that it has managed to establish itself brilliantly in the calendar, and also in the clubs’ goals.
For the first time in the history of the Women’s African Champions League, two clubs from the same country will participate in the final stage of the competition. The matter concerns the Royal Moroccan Army Club, the defending champion, and Sporting Casablanca Club. Since you are Moroccan,
how do you see the development of Moroccan women’s football?
The Royal Moroccan Football Federation has put enormous resources into developing women’s football in Morocco. For example, the Royal University gives women’s clubs the same tools as men’s teams. All women’s teams in Divisions I and II have buses at their disposal. The Moroccan University also pays the salaries of the players and technical staff.
The Women’s Club World Cup will be on FIFA’s agenda. What can this competition bring to the continent’s clubs?
To me, it’s a great idea. I can already imagine TP Mazembe taking on Olympique Lyonnais, or FAM against FC Barcelona. This will be an added advantage for all African clubs. It will give more motivation and hope to our clubs. Women’s club officials will have more resources to create new structures.