Goalkeeper Sedilame Bosija saved a stoppage-time penalty as Botswana held Harambee Starlets to a 1-1 draw in a 2024 Women African Cup of Nations Qualifier staged at Nyayo Stadium on Wednesday afternoon.

Both sides had done a perfect job in the qualifiers by flooring some of the best nations in the continent and the game was poised to be an explosive one from the onset. While Starlets started brightly, they lacked the cutting edge in attack and were reduced to long-range shots that barely troubled the visitor’s keeper.

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Simba Queens new signing Elizabeth Wambui, particularly, was a lively presence on the left flank but her crosses barely found anyone in the opposition box each time she floated them. The first real chance however fell to Botswana when Tholakele Tebogo found herself with only keeper Annedy Kundu to beat but she shot wide after being pressed by the Starlets defender.

They, however, took the lead against a run-off play when a series of passes saw Keitumetse Dithebe send a shot that slipped through Kundu’s gloves and into the net; the keeper seemingly disappointed with an effort she would have handled better.

Starlets didn’t lose hope and restored parity with the last kick of the first half through Marjolene Nekesa. A floated corner kick by Mwanahalima Adam was half-cleared by the Botswana defence into the path of captain Ruth Ingosi whose first-time shot was handled by a Botswana defender for a penalty; Nekesa stepped up from the penalty spot to level matters.

Coach Beldine Odemba was to withdraw goal scorer Nekesa and Wambui at the start of the second half for Sheryl Angachi and Janet Bundi but Botswana seems to have been contented and resorted to time-wasting tactics for the better part of the half.

Other changes saw Mwanahalima Dogo rested for Joy Kinglady who came in to make her national team debut. The Police Bullets FC player had some moments of brilliance but each time they were thwarted by the resolute defence of the visitors.

Just as everyone had prepared a draft for a draw, Starlets were to be handed a penalty in the last minute of additional time when a Bundi’s cross was handled by Kesegofetse Mochawe. With Neksa out, the onus fell on Violet Nanjala to give Kenya the much-needed win but her effort was saved by Bosija who has been a revelation for her club Mamelodi Sundowns, and the captain of her national team.

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