While the reasons for the withdrawal of the North Africans are not known, Pauw says the show will have to go on.
“It is very unfortunate that they had to withdraw from the competition but that is beyond our control. However, from our standpoint, nothing changes. We would have loved to play against them because, as I have been saying, this is ideal preparation for our 2016 Rio Olympic qualifiers against Equatorial Guinea next month,” said Pauw.
“The withdrawal also denies us a chance to face them for the first time. The only positive here is that should we move into the semi-finals, we will have more rest, which means fresh legs for that part of the tournament.”
The Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana had been drawn in Group B alongside Cameroon, Ghana and Egypt.
In a statement the African Games organisers had this to say:
In accordance with Article 19 (B) of the regulations which states “If a team withdraws after having qualified for the Final Tournament, but before the actual start of the Final Tournament, the Organizing Committee may replace it by the last team it has eliminated, if the circumstances are favourable…” the two teams eliminated by Egypt in the qualifiers, Senegal (Women) and Burundi (Men) also decided against replacing Egypt due to the short notice.
In default, the group to which the forfeiting team belonged shall be composed of three teams only.
Group A remains with four teams – hosts Congo alongside Nigeria, Tanzania and Ivory Coast.
Banyana Banyana will face Cameroon in their opening match on Monday, 7 September at the Stade de l’unite 3.
Kickoff is at 17h00 local time in Brazzaville (18h00 SA Time).
Pauw’s charges will then lock horns with Ghana in their second and last group stages encounter on Thursday, 10 September. The clash will take place at the same venue of the first match and will kickoff at the same time.
The semi-finals take place five days later (Tuesday, 15 September) with the finals set for Sunday, 18 September. Banyana Banyana depart for Brazzaville on Wednesday, 2 September as part of Team South Africa under SASCOC.
Updated African Games Women’s Football Fixtures
Top 2 teams per group at the end of the Group Stage of the tournament qualify for the knock out stages.