Tanzania women national soccer side, Twiga Stars, face regional rivals Ethiopia in the first leg of the last qualifying round of the Africa Women Championship (AWC) in Addis Ababa.
The teams will meet in the return leg match on June 16 at the National Stadium, with the winning side qualifying for the finals to be hosted by Equatorial Guinea mid-November.
The team trained by Boniface Mkwasa advanced into this stage after hammering Namibia’s Brave Gladiators by a 7-2 aggregate in January. They won 2-0 in their away match in Windhoek before posting an emphatic 5-2 win in the return leg tie at home.
The Ethiopian side qualified for the final round at the expense of Egypt, one of the pre-tournament favourites. The Ethiopian ladies nicknamed "Dinkinesh" defeated their Egyptian counterparts 4-0 in the return leg to advance to the first round on a 6-4 aggregate score.
Twiga Stars were looking upon the Egyptian team as their likely opponents in the coming round after the Pharaohs had won 4-2 in the first leg match but the Ethiopians seized the opportunity of playing on home soil to turn the tables and sail through.
Mkwasa will need to be extra keen in today’s game putting in mind that the home side are always a hard nut to crack when playing at home.
Ethiopia coach Abraham Haimanot will also be looking to maintain his unbeaten record at home.
Players who are in Ethiopia are Amina Ally, Asha Rashid, Ester Chabruma, Ettoe Mlenzi, Evelyn Sekikubo, Fadhila Hamad, Fatuma Bashiri, Fatuma Khatib, Fatuma Mustafa, Fatuma Omari, Maimuna Said, Mwajuma Abdallah, Mwanahamisi Omari, Mwanaidi Tamba, Mwapewa Mtumwa, Rukia Hamis, Semeni Abeid and Zena Khamis.
Twiga Stars were recently beaten 5-2 by South Africa’s Banyana Banyana in a friendly match in Dar es Salaam. They also lost 1-4 at the hands of Zimbabwe in another build up game.