• Carthage Eaglets dim Starlets in World Cup qualifiers

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  • Harambee Starlets lost 2-1 to Tunisia in a World Cup qualifier.(Photo:File)Harambee Starlets lost 2-1 to Tunisia in a World Cup qualifier.(Photo:File)
Apr 01, 2012-

A controversial penalty dealt the Kenyan women’s Under 20 football team’s hopes of qualifying for the World Cup a huge setback in a 2-1 home loss to Tunisia at the Nyayo National Stadium.

The Carthage Eaglets took the lead in the 8th minute through a disputed penalty that was converted Ella Kaabadhi.

Doris Anyango was harshly adjudged to have handled the ball in the box though at the time, assistant referee Salamun Marie had already flagged a Tunisian player for offiside.

However, even after consultations, center referree, Cariunne Jeanne from Mauritius, stood her ground and awarded the spot kick which Kaabadhi dispatched with ease.

Knowing they needed to get something out of the match, the Harambee Starlets pushed hard for an equalizer.

The home was however fell further behind in the 38th minute when Mezien Hoiuif doubled the visitors’ lead after Kenyan goalkeeper Pauline Atieno spilled Hela Mloweh’s shot.

The Kenyan girls emerged strongly after the interval, but despite the relentless efforts of Neddy Atieno, Sharon Jepkurui, Wendy Achieng and Mural Auma, they failed to break down the Tunisians who defended doggedly.

Jepkurui’s 80th minute strike from long range proved too little too late as Tunisia savoured a priceless away win.

Though Kenya head coach Florence Adhiambo blamed the loss on suspect calls from the referee, she drew positives from the match saying all is not lost for her team. Tunisian coach Mohamed Ali Hammami conceded they were lucky to win the match.

“We won the match but Kenya was the better side. We must work hard in the return leg and avoid an upset at home”, Hammami said.

With the loss, Kenya now has a mountain to climb in the return leg due in two weeks’ time in Tunis to advance to the fourth and final round of the qualifiers.

To book a date with Tunisia, Kenya trounced Zambia’s She-Polopolo 5-2 on aggregate in the previous round.

Nesta Kizito

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