The Starlets had held the Lady Fennecs to a 2-2 draw in the first leg in Algiers last Friday and a second half equalizer from substitute Cherish Avillia was enough for the host to cancel Naima Bouhani’s opener on 23 minutes.
“It is a great day for us and I am very emotional at this moment. These girls have created history despite everything they have been through. This is a gift to all the women in Kenyan football and it shows that with more investment, we can go further,” head coach David Ouma said after the match.
The coach’s substitutions in the second half was the secret key to the Starlets’ success; three players coming on to change the face of the match. Ouma pulled out right back Ann Aluoch for goal scorer Avillia who plays as a midfielder while also bringing in midfielder Vivian Corazon for the overwhelmed Tabaka Chacha.
Avillia’s presence gave Kenya more impetus moving forward and her first touch of the ball was with a free kick from the right punched out by the Algerian keeper Fedoul Nadjet. With 20 minutes left, Ouma threw in his final dice, bringing in another attack minded midfielder, Christine Nafula.
On 74 minutes, Nafula was at the heart of Kenya’s equalizer, starring a free-kick shot after skipper Mary Kinuthia had been fouled at the edge of the box. Avillia lurking 25 yards out took a shot, to the bottom left of the Algerian goal to send the Kenyan crowd into frenzy.
Kinuthia should have doubled Kenya’s advantage a minute later, but her tap on a one-on-one with the Algerian goalie Nadjet went inches wide after Neddy Atieno had won the ball on the right to pull her through.
Algeria had started the match well and their dominance in the opening minutes paid off in the 23rd minute when Bouhani, who scored both goals in the first leg, picked up the ball from a free-kick at the far post to bungle home.
At the start of the second half, Starlets keeper Samantha Akinyi pulled off a superb save to deny Bouhani at point blank, after another defensive lapse by the Kenyan rear.
“Kenya is a good team and deserved the win. We wish them all the best as they progress. It was very difficult today for us,” Chih Azzedine, the Algerian coach remarked.
Sunday, 10 April 2016
*Equatorial Guinea 2-1 Mali (1-1)
Zambia 2-3 Zimbabwe* (0-1)
Monday, 11 April 2016
Cote d’Ivoire 2-1 Egypt* (0-1)
Tuesday, 12 April 2016
*Kenya 1-1 Algeria (2-2)
*Nigeria 2-0 Senegal (1-1)
*Ghana 4-0 Tunisia (2-1)
*South Africa 3-0 Botswana (2-0
*Qualified for final tournament