Twiga Stars to Face Dinkinesh

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania – TWIGA Stars will face regional rivals Ethiopia in the last qualifying round of the Africa Women Championship (AWC) qualifiers after the horn-of-Africa nation eliminated Egypt on Sunday to set up the thrilling first round tie with the Tanzania outfit.

The Ethiopian ladies nicknamed “Dinkinesh” defeated their Egyptian counterpart 4-0 in the return leg match of the African Women’s Soccer Championship Preliminary qualifier to advance to the first round on a 6-4 aggregate score.

Twiga Stars were looking upon the Egyptian team as their likely opponent in the coming round after the latter had won 4-2 in the first leg match two weeks ago in Cairo, Egypt, but the Ethiopians seized the opportunity of playing on home soil to turn the tables and sail through.

Ethiopia coach Abraham T. Haimanot, who blamed his team’s defeat in Cairo to an unwarranted penalty kick and some silly mistakes by his side, had predicted that his team would advance to the next round despite the first leg loss. Twiga Stars marched into the first round of the continental qualifiers with a 5-2 drubbing of Namibia in the return leg match in Dar es Salaam on same day.

Meanwhile, Twiga Stars head coach Charles Boniface Mkwasa has called on Tanzanians to rally behind the team as it bids to qualify for the 2012 finals to be hosted by Equatorial Guinea. Mkwasa issued the call after seeing his side cruise to an emphatic 5-2 win over Namibia at the National Stadium on Sunday.

The victory completed a 7-2 aggregate win for the Tanzanian queens, following their 2-0 triumph in the first leg match played in Windhoek, Namibia about two weeks ago. “Many (people) want to see their national teams triumph but unfortunately only Twiga Stars are doing well, hence, Tanzanians should rally behind us so that we can maintain our good performance,” urged Mkwasa.

Goals from strikers Asha Rashid and Mwanahamisi Omary who scored two goals apiece and another by midfielder Etoe Mlenzi silenced Namibia in the thrilling tie, in which the Namibians managed two goals thanks to Mlenzi’s own goal and a Juliana Skrywer strike.

The result revived hopes of another successful campaign by Twiga Stars in the continental qualifiers, several months after making her maiden appearance during the 2011 AWC edition. With the final hurdle coming up in the face of familiar foes Ethiopia in May, this year, Mkwasa cried for nothing but due support from all stakeholders towards his cash-stripped team.

Mkwasa hailed his players for a vintage display against Namibia and attributed their success to a residential camp at the National Service (JKT) Ruvu Camp. Namibia counterpart Jacqueline Shipanga commended their conquerors Twiga Stars and claimed that the Stars’ victory was a victory for Tanzania’s women football.

She said Twiga’s success was a result of off-field investment in the women’s game by Tanzania and the move was paying off on the field. Shipanga said he was left in awe of Twiga Stars’ stunning performance and reserved special praise to Mwanahamisi Omary who gave her defenders a torrid day during Sunday’s encounter. The Namibian trainer vowed to learn from Tanzania’s experience on how women football is run.

Source: Tanzania Daily News

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