Ghana, Tanzania and Senegal have progressed to the fourth round of the African qualifiers for the FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup, Costa Rica 2022.
In the third round matches on Saturday, Ghana saw off Zambia with a narrow 1-0 win in Cape Coast, as Burundi and Tanzania played out a 1-1 draw in Ngozi, while Senegal suffered a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Guinea in Conakry.
In Cape Coast, the Black Princesses were aiming to leverage on their home advantage against the Zambians, following a drab goalless first leg draw in Lusaka a fortnight ago.
CAF Women’s Champions League breakthrough star Evelyn Badu was the heroine as her 35th minute’s lone effort gave the West Africans the crucial victory over their COSAFA counterparts at the Cape Coast Stadium.
The defeat did not only dashed Zambia’s maiden qualification dreams but also confirmed the elimination of all COSAFA representatives from the ongoing qualification campaign after the earlier exits of Botswana and South Africa.
Ghana, on the other hand, will square up with Uganda, who edged South Africa, in the fourth round of the qualifying series scheduled to hold in January 2022.
Meanwhile in Ngozi, Tanzania did the minimum required to advance, with a crucial point against Burundi sealing their progression.
After a nervy 3-2 first leg result in Dar es Salaam, the eight-woman Tanzanites had a dream start when they broke the deadlock 10 minutes into the match courtesy of Emeliana Isaya Mdimu’s strike.
The Burundians, however, fought back to level moments later but they could not further find the back of the net as their depleted visitors held on till full time to guarantee a spot in the next round.
Having progressed, Tanzania will take on Ethiopia in an all CECAFA fourth-round showdown for a place in the final stage.
Elsewhere, Guinea sought to overturn a 2-0 first leg deficit against Senegal and they began on a high, finding the opening goal through Nambinty Sylla in the 38th minute.
The Guineans pushed for more goals and Fanta Sanda Camara doubled the lead to see the home side level on aggregate against their fellow West African foes on the brink of half time.
The Senegalese, however, resumed the brightest side as they went on to earn a priceless away goal off the foot of Walimata N’Diaye four minutes into the second half.
Although Nana Camara scored in additional time for the hosts, her late effort was not enough to see them through as the visitors progressed on away goals rule after a 3-3 aggregate score.
In the next phase, Senegal will seek to fancy their chances against Morocco after the North Africans sent the Gambia packing from the qualifying series, following a 9-1 aggregate victory.