Wasteful Twiga out
The national women soccer team Twiga Stars crushed out of the African Women’s Championship qualifiers, after suffering a 1-0 home defeat to Ethiopia, at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam on Saturday.
Bertawit Girma scored the lone goal for the visitors in the second half, to heap the task for the hosts, who were from then, required to score three times, in which they tried in vain. Twiga Stars, who made the South Africa finals in 2010, unceremoniously kissed a bye to the race for the 2012 finals set for Equatorial Guinea, on 3-1 aggregate.
The Tanzanian ladies suffered a 2-1 defeat at the hands of their Ethiopian counterparts, whose squad is popularly known as Lucy, in the first leg match played in Addis Ababa a fortnight ago and the former, therefore, needed a win in yesterday’s match to qualify for the finals.
Twiga Stars kicked off the game impressively, in which the team carved out two good chances from the left flank in the first two minutes but failed to exploit them. The host came close to notching the opener on the fourth minute, when striker, Asha Rashid failed to connect a corner kick by Mwapewa Mtumwa from the right.
Asha’s striking partner, Mwanahamisi Omary, then powered past Ethiopia defenders down the left, two minutes later and whipped in a pin point cross but Asha arrived too late and failed to make contact with the ball. But the hosts were then guilty of poor possession and passing, a weakness that almost cost the team dearly as Ethiopia piled a series of dangerous attacks.
Ethiopia striking force comprising Erehima Zerga, Birtukan Gebrekirsto and Shetaye Sisay tormented Twiga defence with slick passing and quick dribbling and that forced the latter, led by Sophia Mwasikili, to be more resolute in clearing balls. Twiga still managed to threaten in the few opportunities they had, in which one saw Mwasikili hit the crossbar with a free kick attempt midway.
Mwasikili then came to her side’s rescue on the 45th minute with a goal line clearance as Twiga goal came under siege. The two sides then shared the spoils with a barren draw at the breather. The Charles Boniface Mkwasa side again had an upper hand on resumption and went close on a number of occasions only to be let down by poor finishing.
The hosts were then made to pay for their profligacy as Ethiopia scored the opener on the 66th minute through Bertawit Girma, who beat Twiga keeper, Fatuma Omary, with a shot inside the area after she was set up by team mate. It all started with the failure by Twiga’s right full back, Fatuma Hatibu to control a pass from fellow defender on the right, after the former pulled a thigh muscle and Ethiopia’s Shetay intercepted the ball and initiated a move that resulted into the goal.
The Ethiopians then dictated matters with a flowing game and continued to threaten whenever pushing forward. Twiga then fought to cancel out the visitor’s lead but in vain. Nigeria’s Falcons are the defending champions after beating Equatorial Guinea (4-2) in the final and host South Africa finished third with Cameroon in fourth place.
By JAPHETH KAZENGA, Tanzania Daily News
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