Wasteful Harambee Starlets fail to capitalize on home advantage against Botswana


FOOTBALL Wasteful Harambee Starlets fail to capitalize on home advantage against Botswana

Festus Chuma 16:50 - 29.11.2023

Harambee Starlets and Botswana draw in 2024 Africa Women’s Cup of Nations qualifier played at Nyayo National Stadium

Harambee Starlets failed to capitalize on their home advantage as Botswana held them to a 1-1 draw in the final round of the 2024 Africa Women’s Cup of Nations qualifier first-leg fixture played at Nyayo National Stadium.

Botswana controlled the proceedings in the opening stages with Kenya happy to sit back and launch quick counterattacks through the likes of Mwanahalima Adam, Cynthia Shilwatso and Majolene Nekesa.

Radimayo Lesego was afforded space to pull the trigger from range and the Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies  striker forced goalkeeper Annedy Kundu into a fine diving save.

Starlets  improved gradually as they began surging forward in numbers - pressing the hosts' defense and they were awarded a free-kick in a promising area after Nekesa was fouled. Set-piece specialist Lorna Nyabuto stepped up and hit the ball over the bar, missing a glorious chance for Kenya.

Elizabeth Wambui was the visitors' brightest spark and she delivered two top-notch crosses for Nekesa and Shilwatso, who both failed to hit the target from close range.

With seven minutes remaining in the first stanza, the Starlets' defense was caught off guard as Keitumetse Dithembe found herself unmarked before sending a shot that goalkeeper Annete Kundu spilled, resulting in the opening goal.

However, the Starlets found the equalizer at the stroke of halftime when Majoline Nekesa converted from the spot after defender Tholakele Tebogo handled the ball inside the area.

The score was 1-1 during the halftime break, with the Starlets finishing the first half stronger than the two teams, but they couldn't find the second goal.

Kenya started the second half exactly as they started the first half and they had an opportunity to take the lead after the visitors' defense was exposed. Jane Bundi unleashed a low shot which was superbly saved by Maitumelo Bosija, who also gathered an attempt from Cynthia  Shilwatso with ease.

Starlets  played much better after the introduction of Violet Nanjala in the second-half as the winger kept the Botswana defence busy.

However, Botswana defence ,which was led by their inspirational vice captain Mosego Montsho, looked solid and resolute despite Starlets attacking intentions.

Botswana coach  introduced striker Annah Nametso  in the 78th minute as visitors looked to score their second goal.

Kenya had chances in the closing stages of the match as they were awarded a penalty, but Violet Nanjla failed to capitalize on it.

How they lined up:

Harambee Starlets: Annedy Kundu, Phoebe Oketch, Loran Nyabuto, Ruth Ingosi, Enez Mango, Elizabeth Wambui, Lilian Corazone, Cythia Shilwatso, Vivian Makokha, Mwanahalima Adam, Marjolene Nekesa 

Botswana: Maitumelo Bosija, Kesegofeste Mochawe, Mosego Montsho, Golebonae Selebasto, Tholakele Tebogo, Lone Gaofetoge, Radiakanyo Lesego, Keitumeste Dithembe, Veronica Mogotsi, Nondi Mahlasela