Tanzania ended years of East Africa’s heartbreak with a 1-0 final round, second leg triumph over Cameroon in Zanzibar on Sunday to seal a place at this year’s U17 Women’s World Cup in India.
Forward Clara Cleitus Luvanga’s treble and Diana Williams Mnally’s effort help the Tanzanite thrash the Cameroonians 4-1 despite Bernadette Ngaseh Mbele’s strike at the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium in Yaounde two weeks ago.
On Sunday, Neema Paul’s second half strike was all the East Africans required to earn a double over the baby Lionesses in the second leg encounter at the Amaan Stadium.
The Central Africans came with high hopes of securing a comeback relying heavily on forwards Mana Lamine and Melanie Zeutsop Keumedjio but they could not find the back of the net as the hosts forced a barren draw in the opening first half.
After the recess, the East Africans regained full control of the match when Paul scored five minutes into the second half to ensure the Tanzanites seal their historic qualification.
With a 5-1 aggregate win, the Serengeti girls confirmed their first ever qualification to the global competition since inception in 2008 and become the first CECAFA nation to qualify for a Women’s World Cup at any level.
Following their triumph, Tanzania are making their debut along with North African debutants Morocco and powerhouse Nigeria on sixth appearance.
The three women’s national teams will be Africa’s flag-bearers at this year’s FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup finals from October 11-30.