The Ethiopian women's national football team suffered a close margin 1-0 defeat at the hands of hosts Algeria in the first leg of the 2016 Women Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers held in Algiers on Sunday.
The Ethiopian side managed to play against Algeria after Togo pulled out from the qualifiers due to financial constraints. The national side were out of the qualifiers due to the Ethiopian Football Federation's error made during registration. The federation failed to give the names of the Lucy to the game's organizing body, the Confederation of African Football, known as CAF, even after repeated reminder.
The EFF Executive Committee sacked the former Federation Secretary General Zerihun Biadglign for failing to register the national women's team for the qualifiers. But when Togo pulled out, the national team got the opportunity to compete in place of them.
The first round result is not that discouraging. The result means the Ethiopian Lucy don't face an uphill task in their return leg match to be held on March 18th at the Addis Ababa Stadium. The possibility of going through to the finals is possible if they win in the second leg with two clear goals.
The journey to the 10th Africa Women Cup of Nations Cameroon 2016 started last weekend with the first round matches of the qualifiers.
The long road that will give birth to seven teams to join hosts Cameroon for the final tournament later in the year began Friday with familiar foes Tanzania facing off Zimbabwe in Dar es Salaam in which Tanzania's Twiga Stars went down 2-1 against Zimbabwe.
The reporters from the spot said that the visitors came from behind to take a huge step toward qualification into the next round of the continental qualifiers. Mwanahamisi Omary scored the lone goal for home ladies but Erina Jeke scored both goals for Zimbabwe.
Twiga, who started the game confidently with high tempo took the lead in the 17th minute, when Mwanahamisi reacted quickly to finish off Asha Rashid's spade work.
Asha dribbled past a defender before beating goalkeeper Chido Dzingirai and the ball landed on Mwanahamisi's path to finish it off. However, the goal lasted for only two minutes as the visitors got an equaliser through Jeke, who rose above defenders to nod home an airborne foul ball from Eunice Chibanda. The set piece evaded several defenders to beat hapless goalkeeper Fatuma Omary.
After conceding the goal, Twiga Stars striking force led by experienced strikers Asha Rashid and Mwanahamisi Omary kept pressure on their opponents' goal but they squandered several scoring opportunities that came their way. The hosts had a lion share of possession in the first half, which saw the two sides going into the break all square.
On resumption things went from bad to worse for the home team as the 'Mighty Warriors' took charge of the game which saw them taking an early lead through Jeke. The deadly striker capitalised on a defensive blunder to easily score the lead goal for the visitors.
The goal came from a through ball from a midfield, splitting the defence wide open and the goalkeeper had to rush out of the goal line but failed to clear the ball as the rebound met Jeke who scored easily.
The 2-1 victory also means the Zimbabweans have managed to continue with their fairy tale over Twiga Stars. The winner between the two sides will face the winner between Namibia and Zambia for the final round qualifier. The final round for the qualifiers will be played on April 8, 9 or 10 in the first leg while the return leg will be held on April 22, 23 or 24.