Botswana came to play for draw, says Odemba

Friday, December 1st, 2023 00:30 | By
Janet Moraa of Harambee Starlets (C) is sandwitched between Leungi Senwelo and Mochawe Kesegofetse of Botswana during the first leg of their second round of 2024 Women Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers match played at the Nyayo National Stadium, Nairobi on Wednesday. PD/ RODGERS NDEGWA

Harambee Starlets coach Beldine Odemba believes Botswana’s defensive approach denied her team the chance to score more goals after the two sides played out to a 1-1 draw in their first leg 2024 Women Africa Cup of Nations qualifier encounter on Wednesday.

In the fixture at Nyayo  National, the visiting side shocked Kenya when 36th Keitunetse Dithede scored the opener in the 36th minute to take a 1-0 lead at the half-time break. However, in the 48th minute, Starlets levelled matters Marjoline Nekesa scored from the penalty spot.

Odemba now believes had Botswana played an open game, the result could have been different in favour of the Kenyan side. “Most of the time when you play away (from home) you bring the defensive approach to ensure that you get a point and that’s what they did,” Odemba told the media after the game.

Odemba is however confident Botswana will open up the game when they meet in the return leg insisting they still stand a chance to qualify.

“If we travel away, they’ll open the game which will make it a 50-50 contest,” said Odemba, adding: “We should have done better, especially in the second half but these girls are not scared to play away, we will do our best.”

Odemba, who handles Kenya Police women’s team, however, admitted that his players had failed to take some instructions hence making it difficult for them to win the game.

 “The players missed some instructions sometimes it’s dictated by the game. You watch how the opponents play and plan how you are going to play. It was a fair game because they came for a draw and they got a draw,” said Odemba.

She added: “We had requested the players to give their best. Give their best in the first 45 minutes especially in some departments because they all trained well and were ready for the match. We wanted each player to give their best and when we see they can’t give that anymore, we bring in another professional.”

Starlets will now shift their focus on the second leg in Botswana, set to be played on Tuesday, December 5. The team travels to Botswana on Sunday, December 3.

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