The identities of the teams for the final lap of the 2014 African Women’s Championship (AWC) qualifiers are no longer a secret.
Rwanda and Zimbabwe were the last teams to book their places, joining the other 12 teams for the stage, which makes them two games shy of qualification for the ninth edition of the premier continental showpiece women’s football tournament.
Despite a 2-1 loss to Kenya in Nairobi on Sunday, the She-Amavubi of Rwanda marched on via the away goal rule after a 2-2 tie. Jackie Ogolla and Mural Amau scored for the Kenyans whilst Jeanne Nyirahatashima found target in between for the visitors that turned out to be the vital goal.
At the Rufaro Stadium in Harare, Zimbabwe eased past Botswana 2-1 with Rutendo Makore and Marjoury Nyaumwe, the scorers for the Mighty Warriors, with Dame Ngenda grabbing a consolation for Botswana.
Zimbabwe went through 3-1 on aggregate and will meet Zambia at the final round, and coach Rosemary Mugadza has warned her charges to up their game for the last two games.
“We did well although we still have some shortcomings and have to do more to prepare for Zambia. We still need to work extra hard,” Mugadza was quoted by Zimbabwean daily, Herald after the game.
Prior to that, North African duo, Algeria and Tunisia had sealed their places at the final round on Saturday.
Algeria settled for a barren draw with Morocco in Rabat and go through 2-0 on aggregate, whereas Tunisia and Egypt settled for a 2-2 draw in Bizerte, with latter marching on 5-2 overall. The two teams will face-off at the final round with the winner going through to the final tournament.
Also through are Ghana’s Black Queens, who thumped their Burkinabe counterparts 3-0 in Accra. Striker Faiza Ibrahim scored on 22 minutes whilst Agnes Aduako netted in each half to ensure the Ghanaians advanced 6-0 on aggregate, with Ethiopia in sight at the next round.
Earlier on Friday, Cote d’Ivoire and Zambia booked their places after coming out unscathed in the second leg matches of the qualifiers. The Ivorians beat Mali 1-0 to complete a double over the latter whilst Zambia snatched a one-all draw against Tanzania in Dar es Salaam.
‘Les Elephantes’, 4-0 winners in the first leg proved a mouthful for their Malian hosts in the encounter on Friday at the Modibo Keita Stadium in Bamako.
Ines Tia scored the only goal of the match on 60 minutes to send her side through to the final round 5-0 on aggregate. The West Africans are due to face reigning African champions, Equatorial Guinea at the next round.
In Dar es Salaam, a late equalizer from Susan Banda proved vital for the Shepopolo to oust the Twiga Stars. The Tanzanians shot up into the lead on 39 minutes through Aisha Rashid but their hopes went dead eight minutes from time when Banda’s thunderbolt from a free-kick found its way into the net.
Seven teams will emerge from the qualifiers to join hosts Namibia for the final tournament from 11-24 October, also a qualifier for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada next year.
28/2/2014 Mali 0-1 Cote d’Ivoire (0-4)
28/2/2014 Tanzania 1-1 Zambia (1-2)
01/3/2014 Morocco 0-0 Algeria (0-2)
01/3/2014 Tunisia 2-2 Egypt (3-0)
01/3/2014 Ghana 3-0 Burkina Faso (3-0)
02/3/2014 Kenya 2-1 Rwanda (0-1)
02/3/2014 Zimbabwe 2-1 Botswana (1-0)
Second Round Fixtures
Algeria vs Tunisia
Ethiopia vs Ghana
Côte d’Ivoire vs Equatorial Guinea
Rwanda vs Nigeria
Senegal vs Cameroon
Comoros vs South Africa
Zimbabwe vs Zambia
(First leg: 23-25 May; Second leg: 6-8 June)