Gladiators on Black Queens’ trail

Emma Naris in action for Namibia. File photo

Ghana’s Black Queens can complete a return to the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations by avoiding a reversal of Friday’s 3-1 win against Namibia tomorrow.

The Brave Gladiators secured a vital away goal in Accra on Friday when they went down in the first leg of the 2024 Wafcon final-round qualifier.

A 2-0 victory by a three-goal margin, should Ghana find the back of the net, will ensure a second appearance for Namibia at the continental showpiece competition which is set for Morocco.

Doris Boaduwaa scored twice, with Ghana captain Portia Boakye also on target for the hosts and the visitors at Accra Sport Stadium.

Black Queens coach Nora Hauptle said her side was not at their best, but is pleased with the victory which gives them an advantage ahead of the second leg at the Lucas Moripe Stadium in Pretoria, South Africa.

“I think at the beginning of the game there was some difficulty. We scored a beautiful goal. I think this is a special moment,” she told Ghana Web.

With Friday’s win, Hauptle has overseen a 10-match unbeaten run and is confident that streak will continue as they aim to grab one of 11 available Wafcon 2024 spots.

“This is probably not the best performance, but you need to understand there is pressure, and it’s a lot. Of course, we should have scored more. I’m satisfied,” Hauptle said.

In other first-leg action, the Copper Queens of Zambia showed their class and experience away from home with a comfortable 6-0 victory over Angola.

Zambia was exempted from the first round of qualifiers, given their high ranking and participation at the recent Fifa Women’s World Cup.

That pedigree was on show in Luanda, where a Barbra Banda hat-trick and a goal each from Lushomo Mweemba, Ireen Lungu, and Racheal Kundananji gave the Copper Queens an edge over Angola.

Zambia are poised to qualify for the fifth time having competed in the showpiece in 1995, 2014, 2018, and most recently in 2022 when they finished third.

Kenya were held to a 1-1 draw by Botswana in what was a frustrating afternoon for the hosts at home, while the Democratic Republic of Congo women’s national team secured an important 1-1 draw away to Equatorial Guinea.

Defending champions South Africa were held 1-1 at Burkina Faso, and Banyana Banyana took the lead through Hildah Magaia in the 56th minute before Yasso Konate equalised on 68 minutes.

The second leg takes place today.

Meanwhile, Guinea were thumped 7-2 at home by a rampant Mali, Senegal cruised to a routine 4-0 win over Egypt, Algeria outclassed Burundi 5-1, and Tunisia were 5-2 victors over Congo (Brazzaville).

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