‘Twiga can advance despite loss’

IVORY COAST : TWIGA Stars Coach Bakari Shime is confident his squad to eliminate Ivory Coast and progress to the next round of the 2024 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON) qualifiers.

He made the statement after conceding a 2-0 loss from the hosts Ivory Coast in the first leg clash at Yamoussoukro Stadium in Ivory Coast on Friday.

The two teams will meet again in the reverse leg match at Azam Complex in Dar es Salaam on  Tuesday (26th September) and the overall best performer of the two-legged encounter will face either Djibouti or Togo in the next round of the qualifiers.

“We started the game well but in the second half, we lost concentration in the 50th minute when they scored the leading goal before conceding the second goal two minutes later via a spot kick.

“These two quick goals paralysed our game plan as we had to defend a lot to avoid conceding extra goals and we succeeded on that,” Shime said.

He added: “I am satisfied with the performance of my team and I have strong belief that we are going to score three goals at home…this is possible because we are now aware of their strengths and weaknesses.

“Here (Ivory Coast), we came up with a plan to defend and use counterattacks to search goals but at home, we will be attacking throughout while at the same time not gifting them a chance to get an away goal.”

However, in a previous interview, highlighting the secret behind the success of women’s football in the country, Shime noted that awareness concerning the game has highly contributed to its success.

“We have women players who are ready to play football and this alone is a big achievement…also, we get necessary support from the government and stakeholders who together provide the needed assistance which is vital to scale up this sport,” he said.

He added that grassroots programmes conducted in both Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar are also orchestrating the smooth success of women’s football in the country.

“Again, there are a big number of well-trained coaches who are doing a good job behind the scenes to ensure that women players get the required skills hence all these packed together, we get nothing other than success,” he narrated.

The 2024 WAFCON finals will be staged in Morocco.

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