Harambee Starlets hit Malawi to advance in Olympics tie
National women’s football team Harambee Starlets are through to the third round of the 2020 Olympics qualifiers after beating Malawi’s She-Flames 5-3 on aggregate after a 3-0 win in the return match played at Machakos Stadium yesterday.
A brace from Thika’s Mwanalima Adam in the 77th and 87th minutes and a goal from Vihiga’s Cynthia Shilwatso handed Starlets a 3-0 win to book a date with either Ghana or Gabon.
“The players showed the mental strength to make a comeback and it has happened. The defensive organisation at home was at its best. We lost a few chances but the players did their best,” said Starlets coach David Ouma.
He added: “This is a young team and we have very good talents who are ready to fight for wins. The campaign for an Olympics slot now gets tougher but I believe the players will work for it.”
The tactician will make a few additions to the team for the next stage with most of the players he has in mind being those scouted from the 2019 secondary school games.
His opposite number Abel Mkandawire said: “Kenya is a good side and they have given a good account of themselves. They made home advantage count and took their chances, something we failed to do despite creating many.”
Ouma had made two changes to his squad, handing starting berths to Jentrix Shikangwa and Wincate Kaari, who was coming off an injury, in place of Nelly Sawe and Janet Bundi.
Shilwatso gave the hosts the lead in the 18th minute. Adam provided the assist as she fought for the ball against Malawi’s Patricia Nyirenda and Towera Vinkhumbo inside the box to deliver a short pass to Shilwatso who slotted home for the aggregate equaliser.
Starlets looked the better side in the first half as action remained in the opponent’s half. Elizabeth Wambui lost a chance of a lifetime in the 35th minute when she put too much force on what would have been an easy tap in, sending the ball flying over the bar instead.