Twiga Stars out to edge Namibia in AWCON Qualifiers

20Oct 2021
The Guardian Reporter
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Twiga Stars out to edge Namibia in AWCON Qualifiers

TANZANIA's national women's soccer team, Twiga Stars will today play its first match of the knockout stage of the first round in search of qualification for the Women's Africa Cup of Nations (AWCON) against Namibia at the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium Dar es Salaam.

A section of fotballers making Tanzania national women's football team take part training in Dar es Salaam early this week ahead o the squad's 2022 Africa Women Cup of Nations qualification match gainst Namibia, which will take place in the city today. PHOTO: TFF

The 2022 AWCON will take place in Morocco between July 2-23 and will double up as the African qualifiers for the 2023 Women's World Cup which will take place in Australia and New Zealand.

The top four teams in the AWCON will qualify for the World Cup, and two more teams will advance to the inter-confederation playoffs.

Twiga Stars, coached by Bakari Shime alias 'The black wizard', had been taking part in practice every day after returning to the country this month from South Africa, where the squad battled it out in this year's COSAFA Women's Championship.

The team clinched th COSAFA Women's Championship top honour, edging Malawi women side 1-0 in th final.

Shime revealed: "We kept on training because we knew our responsibilities. We have fixtures in the coming days including the AWCON Qualifiers which, if we qualify and turn up in the tournament next year, we will have an opportunity to represent the country in 2023 Women's World Cup.''

Twiga Stars face Namibia women's squad, known as 'Brave Gladiators', who are coming into this game after crashing out of the group stage of the COSAFA Women's Championship with four points, notching a win in one game, one draw and one loss.

Towards today's game, coach Shime said: ''We are at home, we will play as hosts, we will play strategically while reading our opponent, we will attack if necessary and defend if possible and also on force them  to play our game and it will work, we believe we are at our very best we will get the best results.''

Shime said that Twiga Stars have the advantage of getting to know their opponents after seeing them closely when they were at the COSAFA Women's Championship which ended recently although they did not get a chance to play each other, as the coach said that it will be one of the catalysts of this game to showcase the surprise from both sides.

The tactician revealed: ''They played only three group games and were eliminated from the tournament and we played until the final, their coach Woody Jacobs watched us closely and we have looked at their style of play and made sure we close them down whenever necessary on their plays and get a win.''

The return legs of the first round AWCON Qualifiers will take place between October 23-26.

The second round of qualifiers, meanwhile, are scheduled to take place between February 14-23 next year.

Twenty qualifiers will be played across the continent, some of which are the Sao Tome & Principe vs Togo, and Central African Republic vs Cameroon duels.

Other matches will see three-time defending champions, Nigeria, lock horns with Ghana, Egypt confront Tunisia, Equatorial Guinea playing DR Congo and Uganda facing Ethiopia among other fixtures.

A total of 12 teams would qualify to play in the final tournament, including the hosts which would qualify automatically.

Top Stories