NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 22- Christine Manie’s penalty in the second half handed Cameroon’s Indomitable Lionesses a 1-0 win over Harambee Starlets in a friendly match at the Kasarani Stadium on Saturday.
Despite the loss, Kenya will be proud of their performance especially against a side with pedigree having reached the final of the last African Women’s Cup of Nations in 2014 as well as the last 16 of last year’s women’s World Cup.
“We contained Cameroon well and conceded from a penalty. We had chances to score and I think we were not calm. we were almost there are I hope we do better against Egypt. its another tough match and hopefully we will have rested a bit because we played this match just a day after coming from Morocco,” Starlets head coach David Ouma said after the match.
Neddy Atieno was gifted with Starlets’ best three chances of the opening exchanges all within the first 10 minutes but she could not hit the target with any of them.
In the second minute of the match, Atieno used her pace to beat her marker on the left before edging into the box but her effort went inches over the bar.
In the seventh minute she had another chance after Christine Nafula nodded down the ball for her, but the eventual shot once again could not find the target.
Cameroon gradually grew into the match with midfielder Genevieve Ngombeleck being the chief architect of Cameroon’s build-up, pulling strings in the midfield and doing a fantastic job in ball distribution.
On the quarter hour mark, Ngombeleck had a shot from the edge of the box go wide after Cherish Avillia’s clearance from a cross fell graciously on her path.
Henriete Akaba’s pace on the wings had proved to be a thorn in the flesh for the Starlets’ backline especially basing on her understanding with Ngombeleck.
Akaba came close in the 19th minute but she shot wide from close range after Wendy Achieng’s attempted control from an Augustine Ngoback cross fell on her feet.
The visitors continued dominating a chunk of the possession and they had another opportunity in the 35th minute with captain Christine Manie’s header from a Ngombeleck cross flashing across the face of goal.
With the Cameroonian playmaker dominating the home girls, head coach David Ouma was forced into his first change three minutes from the break, bringing on Corazone Aquino for Caroline Anyango.
At the start of the second half, right back Ann Aluoch was also withdrawn and her place taken by Lilian Awuor who slotted into central defense while Elizabeth Amboho who had started unusually at the heart of defense was pushed to right back.
On the hour mark, Jacky Ogol was introduced for Christine Nafula.
The midfielder almost cost her side just a minute after coming on when she lost the ball in midfield, Ngombeleck picking it and dribbling it into the box. She tripped and fell but the referee waved down shouts for a penalty.
A minute later though, the visitors got ahead from the spot after skipper Manie converted following a handball inside the box from a Ngoback shot. Substitute Alice Nkomidio had come in with some pressure from the left and it is from her industry to bring in a cross that the penalty was yielded.
Ngombeleck had a chance on the 70th minute with a shot from inside the box after finding some space to drive in but Kenya custodian Samantha Akinyi came out tops.
Despite pressure in the final minutes from the home girls to get an equalizer, Cameroon steadied their defense and thanks to some indecisive finishing, the score remained the same to the final whistle.