Why Beldine Odemba Believes Harambee Starlets Can Still Qualify for WAFCON Despite Cameroon Setback


Harambee Starlets head coach Beldine Odemba is optimistic that her side “still has a chance” to qualify from the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON) qualifier against Cameroon when both sides meet in Nairobi for the return leg on September 26.

Spain-based defender Eliane Mambalano scored the all-important goal in the first half that gave the Indomitable Lionesses the needed advantage.

Kenya will host the second leg on September 26th at Nyayo National Stadium with the winner advancing to the second round of the competition against one of Gabon or Botswana.

Starlets were threatening on counter-attacks and had a chance to restore parity on a couple of occasions, but could not capitalize on the opportunities they got. In the end, they had to swallow the bitter pill of losing the first leg, but will have a chance to make amends next week.

Speaking to the press after the match, Odemba insisted that she saw enough about her team’s performance that encouraged her ahead of the return leg clash.

“I believe my team still has a chance to qualify. We have noted areas to work on and we are ready for the return leg in Nairobi,” the fast-rising tactician said.

Harambee Starlets last took part in an international fixture in October 2021, so the fact that they were able to give Cameroon a match proper gave Odemba alot of encouragement.

“It feels good because this is good exposure. All is not lost. We have a chance to qualify. We are ready for the return leg. We now know where to work.” 

The Highway Secondary School tactician was also quick to heap praise on Cameroon, praising their excellent crossing ability, which will give Odemba time to work on this weakness.

“You (Cameroon) have good players, you guys are good on cross balls and yeah that is another area we will surely work on.”

Their last international engagement was in November last year against South Sudan in the Africa Women’s Cup of Nations qualifiers.

After cruising past Sudan, the Starlets were due to play Uganda in a double-header as part of the last qualifying round of the Africa Women’s Cup of Nations qualifying fixtures in February.

The Ugandans thus progressed to the AWCON finals, joining hosts Morocco as the only teams to have qualified for the continental showpiece that was held in July.

Should Starlets beat Cameroon, they will qualify for the continental showpiece for the second time after their maiden appearance in 2016.

Source : Pulse Sports