Kenya: Harambee Starlets Bow Out of Olympic Qualifiers

11 November 2019

Harambee Starlets' dream of making it to the 2020 Olympics came to a halt on Monday as they lost 1-0 away to Zambia in the return leg of their fourth round qualifying match.

The result saw the national women's football team bow out 3-2 on aggregate after the sides played out a 2-2 draw in the first leg in Nairobi last Friday.

With the win, Zambia advanced to the final stage and will now play the winner between Cameroon and Cote d’Ivoire.

Both teams played to a barren draw on Saturday in Cote d’Ivoire and they line up on Tuesday in Cameroon for the second leg with the winner qualifying to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, while the loser will have one more shot in a play-off with Chile.

Both coaches made one change to their starting line ups that did duty during the first leg with Kenya coach David Ouma introducing Gentrix Shikangwa, who began on the bench in place of Janet Bundi, while hosts coach Bruce Mwape rested Misozi Zulu for Rachael Nachula.

The Copper Queens dominated the early minutes of play and their efforts nearly paid off in the 8th minute, but Mweemba Lushomo's attempt on goal was easily collected by Kenya goalkeeper Annette Kundu.

The visitors, who were made to play in their own half as the match gathered ground, later found their footing with good exchanges between Mwanalima Adam and Sheryl Andiba, but were poor on delivery.

Nachula would have put the hosts in the lead in the 24th minute after earning a penalty but her shot hit the post.

The Kenyans grew in confidence and showed intent to score, but Andiba shot wide after connecting well with Adam’s long range in the 34th minute.

Zambia coach Mwampe then rested Nachula for Zulu in the 40th minute with both teams failing to break the deadlock heading into the break

On resumption, unlike the first half where they were forced to chase the match, Kenya returned strongly with noticeable attempts but were wasteful.

In the 57th minute, Mweemba put Zambia in the lead as Kenya fizzled out.

Captain Barbara Banda was fouled inside the box, but once again Rachel Kundananji's spot-kick in the 76th minute hit the post as Kenya looked out sorts.

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