The Kenya national women’s team, Harambee Starlets, will have to wait until at least 2026 to appear at the Women’s African Cup of Nations (WAFCON).
Starlets missed out on the 2024 WAFCON, which will be held in Morocco, after losing 1-0 to hosts Botswana in the second leg of their final qualifier at the Gaborone National Stadium.
Beldine Odemba’s girls had played to a 1-1 draw at the Nyayo National Stadium on Wednesday, November 29, 2023, and followed the Mares of Botswana to complete the job but that did not happen, unfortunately.
Starlets will however shoulder the blame for the painful loss as they spurned a glut of opportunities to take the lead and win the game, especially in the first half.
Another noteworthy moment happened in the second half when the Kenyans won a penalty with the game tied at 0-0.
Cynthia Shilwatso stepped forward in an attempt to give Starlets a priceless away goal but her shot was parried by host goalkeeper Sedilame Bosija.
Dithebe Keitumetse who scored Botswana’s goal in Nairobi last week was once again on target in the 63rd minute to give the hosts the lead after surviving the penalty.
Keitumetse pounced on the ball following a blunder by Ruth Ingotsi who failed to send the ball forward after receiving it from her goalkeeper Lilian Awuor.
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Kenya’s dream to appear at the WAFCON finals for the second time in history after making a debut in 2016 comes to an end while Botswana makes a second successive appearance at the continental showpiece.