LIMBE, Cameroon, Nov 21- Despite controversially losing 3-1 to Ghana’s Black Queens in their opening African Women’s Championship (AWCON) match, Harambee Starlets head coach David Ouma is confident the girls will bounce back when they play Mali in their second Group B match on Wednesday.
The biggest talking point during the Sunday night Ominsport Arena defeat was Ghana’s second goal from a hugely contested penalty.
“We will have to watch the clip again and see whether it was the right call. Critical moments decide a game and I think we deserved some critical moments. The referee made some questionable decisions and it changed the game,” a hugely disappointed Ouma said at the post match conference.
His sentiments were also shared by his Ghanaian counterpart Yusif Basigi who questioned some of the referee’s decisions.
Starlets’ chances of making it into the last four now seem dim and they must pick wins in both their remaining matches against Mali and holders Nigeria who won their opening match 6-0.
“I want to congratulate my players for the performance in our first ever AWCON match. I think we performed really well, we had our moments and at 1-0 we should have been in a position to seal the game. Congratulations to Ghana for the win,” Ouma commented.
He added; “We gave it our all, we lost, but we will live to fight another day. We have to do better in or next match. It is a learning moment and we have to believe. We’ve got the experience so it’s one step at a time.”
Ouma also heaped praise on striker Esse Akida who scored Kenya’s first ever goal at the continental showpiece and said more of her will be seen as the tournament progresses.
Kenya faces Mali on Wednesday night in Limbe hoping to rake in their first ever AWCON win and keep alive their hopes of a last four appearance. This coupled with a loss by Ghana against Group B leaders Nigeria will hand them a chance.
“We have to keep working hard and using our chances. That is what we could not do yesterday. We have two days to prepare and hopefully we become sharp enough for Mali and show that we are also a good side,” Ouma opined.
Meanwhile, Ghana remain confident they have what it takes to handle defending champs Nigeria despite their red hot form.
“Ghana – Nigeria is always a different ball game. They massacred Mali 6-0 but it doesn’t mean that they will massacre Ghana. Let the day come and we will see what happens,” Ghana coach Basigi said.