Harambee Starlets coach Beldine Odemba backs Violet Nanjala despite penalty miss


FOOTBALL Harambee Starlets coach Beldine Odemba backs Violet Nanjala despite penalty miss

Festus Chuma 07:04 - 30.11.2023

Harambee Starlets' Violet Nanjala defended after crucial penalty miss in 1-1 draw against Botswana.

Harambee Starlets forward Violet Nanjala found herself in the spotlight after a crucial penalty miss during a thrilling 1-1 draw against Botswana in the first leg of the final qualification tie for the 2024 Women's Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON).

While the disappointment was palpable, head coach Beldine Odemba firmly defended her player, emphasizing that the miss should not be pinned on Nanjala.

The pivotal moment in the match came when the referee awarded a penalty after Janet Moraa's cross was handled inside the box.

All eyes were on Nanjala as she stepped up to take the spot-kick, with the hopes of the entire nation resting on her shoulders.

However, Botswana's goalkeeper, Baitumelo Bosija, had different plans and expertly thwarted her effort.

Nanjala's crestfallen demeanor at the final whistle painted a picture of her agony, and it took the collective effort of her teammates to lift her from the ground.

While some fans expressed their disappointment and frustration, coach Odemba stood by her player.

"There is absolutely no regrets on the person chosen to take the penalty," Odemba affirmed.

"Violet performed well against Cameroon in our previous match, where she also took a penalty and scored. Players sometimes require confidence to take penalties. Penalty kicks are a fifty-fifty game, so anything can happen."

Odemba also acknowledged that her team had missed several opportunities to secure a victory.

"The players sometimes missed some instructions, which can be influenced by the flow of the game," she explained.

"You observe how the opponent plays and plan your strategy accordingly. You assess their strengths and identify where to capitalize. I can say it was a fair game; they came for a draw, and they achieved it."

She further added, "We had asked the players to give their best in the first half. They all trained well and were fully prepared for the match. We have identified areas that we need to improve on. We still have 90 minutes, and we believe we can make it to the finals."

As Starlets regroup for the return leg of the match in Gaborone, they are determined to bounce back from the disappointment of the missed penalty.

Odemba's charges will undergo a recovery session on Thursday, followed by two more intensive training sessions to fine-tune their strategy.

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