Botswana blocks Harambee Starlets’ dreams for next Africa Cup of Nations

Tuesday, December 5th, 2023 20:52 | By
Harambee Starlets walk at Kasarani ahead of a match against Botswana. PHOTO/(@StarletsKE)/X
Harambee Starlets walk at Kasarani ahead of a match against Botswana. PHOTO/(@StarletsKE)/X

Harambee Starlets hopes of returning to the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals to be held in Morocco were thwarted by a tactical Botswana side yesterday at the National Stadium in Gaborone.

The Mares have secured back-to-back qualifications for the coveted continental women’s showpiece after beating a wasteful Kenya 1-0 yesterday, achieving a 2-1 aggregate win following a 1-1 draw in Nairobi last Wednesday.

Bad luck struck again in the Kenyan camp as Cynthia Musungu missed a penalty in the 54th minute following a handball inside the box by forward Nondi Fingi. During the first leg, Violet Nanjala also missed a last-minute penalty that could have given Starlets an advantage.

In the 61st minute, Nancy Chipo scored the lone goal for the hosts yesterday at the noisy National Stadium, left unmarked from the left side of the area, collecting a sweet pass from Veronica Magosti and looping the ball over Kenyan goalkeeper Lilian Awour who had left her line.

Coach Beldine Odemba made amendments to her lineup, giving Dorcas Shikobe the captaincy and a starting role, having sat out entirely during the first leg encounter. France-based goalkeeper Lilian Awour was also given a nod over regular starter Annedy Kundu, while sizzling Sheryll Angachi and Janet Moraa were included in the first eleven, replacing Marjolen Nekesa and Lorna Nyarinda respectively.

Kenya produced some fine displays in the first half of the game, with an Elizabeth Wambui free-kick on the edge of the box going over the bar 12 minutes after kick-off.

In the 23rd minute, Kenya could have grabbed the needed goal when Wambui delivered an inviting cross from the right wing, but Mwanahalima Adam’s diving header inside the yard went disappointingly wide.

Harambee Starlets survived a scare two minutes later with a powerful header from Goloboane Selebato that was collected by shot-stopper Awupr.

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