MAINLAND side, Kilimanjaro Queens missed the chance to defend the CECAFA Women Senior Challenge Cup after a 2-0 loss to Kenya’s Harambee Starlet in a hot finale held yesterday at Azam Complex in Dar es Salaam.
Substitute Jentrix Shikangwa scored a brace in the second half of the game to break Tanzanians hearts and enable her side to dethrone Kilimanjaro Queens and win the 2019 CECAFA Women title.
The Kenyans ended Kilimanjaro Queens’ mission to win a hattrick of titles.
Thousands of fans packed at the venue, were left grinding their teeth in despair as Kilimanjaro Q ueens failed to display their usual fabulous, thrilling and free flowing football. Kenya simply managed to control the hosts’ aggression, relentless pace, viscerally and incisive attacks.
The writings were on the wall for Kilimanjaro Queens, especially after the semifinal game against Uganda’s Crested Cranes in which, they scruffily and luckily won 1-0. Kenya on the other hand, won 2-0 with calmness against Uganda Crested Cranes in the group stage encounter.
The first half saw both teams playing cautiously not to allow an opponent a chance to make a premature damage.
However, it was the visitors who were doing much defending while the hosts had a couple of opportunities to make a breakthrough but most of their attempts were off the target. Kilimanjaro Queens versatile striker Mwanahamisi Omary had an early chance in the 2nd minute, when she forced her way into the penalty box but could not unleash the shot on target.
In the 21st minute, Harambee Starlets won a free kick just outside the box, a real chance to score a leading goal but Kilimanjaro Queens goalkeeper Najiati Idrisa was well positioned to grab the ball.
As both teams went for break, it was a fifty- fifty affair such that any side had an equal chance to win the title in the second half.
Kilimanjaro Queens Head Coach Bakari Shime was the first to adjust his squad, when he introduced Stumai Abdallah for Anastas Katunzi in the 69th minute of the encounter before he rested his captain Asha Rashid for Opa Sanga in the 79th minute.
Shikangwa broke the deadlock in the 69th minute through a spot kick, which was awarded to Kenya after a handball by the home side defender in an attempt to clear the ball inside the box.
She drove a low simple ball, which went past Kilimanjaro Queens shot-stopper Najiati Idrisa. As if this was not enough, Shikangwa, who emerged the tournament’s top scorer with ten goals just like the number of her jersey, scored a spectacular goal after firing from a long range in the 87th minute, leaving goalkeeper Idrisa injured and had to be replaced by Zubeda Mgunda.
It was the first loss to the home Queens in their five matches played en-route to the final, following their remarkable performances in their previous games.
They started on a high pedal with a 9-0 thrashing of South Sudan, before hammering Burundi 4-0 and then smashed Zanzibar 7-0 prior to their slim 1-0 victory over Uganda and consequently stepped into the final.
However, it was not all bad for Kilimanjaro Queens as striker Mwanahamisi Omary was voted player of the tournament and she was the first player to post the contest’s first hat-trick, when they pounded South Sudan 9-0.
The best goalkeeper honour of the competition went to the Kenyan goalie Annedy Andey, who finished the tournament without conceding.
Earlier on the day, Uganda defeated Burundi 2-0 to claim a third slot whereas the latter finished fourth respectively.