COSAFA side Namibia have stormed into the second round of qualifying for the 2022 CAF Women’s Africa Cup of Nations with a 3-2 victory over Tanzania at the Dobsonville Stadium in Soweto on Saturday.
Zenatha Coleman was again the hero for the Namibians, scoring a hat-trick to go with her two goals she netted in the first leg in Dar es Salaam.
Namibia win the tie 5-3 on aggregate and will now meet the winner of the match-up between Malawi and Zambia in the next round in February. That tie is evenly poised at 1-1 from the first leg in Malawi.
Coleman has cemented her reputation as one of the leading stars on the continent and is a hugely influential figure for the Southern African side, almost single-handedly dispatching the fancied Tanzanians.
The east Africans might have expected to advance having won the recent COSAFA Women’s Championship that was played in Nelson Mandela Bay and concluded earlier this month.
Coleman scored her brace in the first half, after Mwanahamisi Shurua had given the Tanzanians the lead on 13 minutes.
That briefly made the aggregate score 2-2, but Coleman weaved her magic and had a hat-trick before halftime as Namibia led 3-1 at the break.
But the visitors were given hope when Opa Tukumbuke pulled a goal back just before the hour mark, but Namibia were able to hold on.
The match was played in neutral South Africa with Namibia not having a suitable venue with which to host the fixture.
The qualifiers for the Nations Cup have added significance for all teams as the finals competition will serve as the preliminaries for the 2023 Women’s FIFA World Cup to be staged in Australia and New Zealand.
The top four teams in the African competition will book their place in the expanded 32-team global finals, while the sides that end fifth and sixth will play in inter-continental qualifiers that could see Africa have as many as six representatives
It is all part of FIFA’s commitment to grow the women’s game, but the path to the World Cup has now ended for Tanzania.