Odemba opens up on tactical masterclass behind victory over Cameroon


FOOTBALL: Odemba opens up on tactical masterclass behind victory over Cameroon

Festus Chuma 09:00 - 27.09.2023

Odemba reveals strategic decisions and team spirit as key factors behind Harambee Starlets' thrilling win against Cameroon.

Harambee Starlets once again made the nation proud with a nerve-wracking victory against the strong side of Cameroon in the 2024 Africa Women's Cup of Nations (WAFCON) qualifier. 

In a game that witnessed a 1-1 aggregate scoreline and stretched to a nail-biting penalty shootout, the Starlets emerged victorious with a 4-3 margin.

It was a match where the odds seemed heavily tilted against them, facing a formidable Cameroonian side. But Coach Beldin Odemba's confidence in his players and their self-belief turned the tide.

“We opened the game today and we got a goal and we could have scored more goals, while they focused more on individual play," remarked a visibly elated Odemba after the match. 

She further emphasized the underlying spirit of the team, stating, “We believe and we made the players believe that it can be done.”

The encounter started on an even keel, with both teams sizing up each other and trying to establish their dominance on the pitch. 

The first half was tense, filled with missed opportunities and a few close shaves. But despite a valiant effort by the Starlets, the scoreboard remained untouched as the referee blew the halftime whistle. It left Cameroon with a slight advantage as they stepped into the final 45 minutes, aiming to make the most of it.

But the second half showcased the Starlets' determination to claim victory, and time and again, they pierced through Cameroon's defense, but that elusive goal remained distant. 

As the minutes ticked by and the pressure mounted, the Kenyan side kept their composure and continued their relentless pursuit.

The breakthrough came from an unlikely source: substitute Cynthia Shilwatso. As she stepped up to take a free-kick in the dying moments of the match, the weight of an entire nation's hopes rested on her shoulders.

With grace and poise, Shilwatso delivered a stunning strike that arced beautifully and ended in the back of the net, bringing jubilation to the Kenyan camp and their fans.

Now, with their eyes set on the prize, the Harambee Starlets prepare to take on Botswana, a team that triumphed over Gabon to secure their spot in the second round. 

The victor will not only earn a place in the competition's final but also seal their participation in the 2024 Africa Women’s Cup of Nations, which Morocco has the honor of hosting.