Plenty to play for in pivotal preliminaries 

u20 wwc tropphy

There is still much to be played for when the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Costa Rica & Panama 2020 Africa’s preliminary qualifiers are concluded this weekend.

Already at hand were some interesting first leg results even with big-margin away wins for teams such as Botswana that hit Namibia for seven in Windhoek as well as Guinea Bissau that mauled Mauritania 6-0 and Ethiopia alongside Algeria that respectively beat Burundi and South Sudan with 5-0 margins. There were also away wins for Morocco, beating Egypt 5-3 in Cairo, just as Senegal and South Africa against Sierra Leone and Zambia respectively.

Yet South Africa’s energetic youngster Oratile Mokwena has hinted that Basetsana under coach Jabulile Baloyi were leaving nothing to chance in the reverse against the visiting Zambians.

“Zambia is a very quick side which likes to use both of their wingers to infiltrate their opponents’ defence,” Mokwena was quoted by the South Africa Football Association (SAFA) website ahead of Saturday’s reverse fixture in Johannesburg.

“We have had good sessions with our coaches and they have been very outstanding in getting us ready for this return leg. The overall ambition in this team is to qualify for its first ever FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, and we believe it can be done.”

Despite losing 7-0 at the Sam Nujoma Stadium in Windhoek, Namibia coach Mamie Kasaona has promised to ring changes in the quest for a credible outing against Botswana in the reverse on Friday in Gaborone.

Elsewhere, pedigree could count in favour of hosts Senegal against visiting Sierra Queens of Sierra Leone after Les Lionnes ran away with a lone goal win two weeks ago in Bo courtesy of a 56th minute strike by Fatou Bintou Toure .

Senegal coach Souleymane Diallo and his charges are favoured to navigate their way through in front of their local fans at the Alassane Djigo Stadium in Pikine on Saturday.

Liberia will be away to Guinea in Conakry with the former carrying a 3-0 win from the first leg whilst Gambia will be hoping to overturn 3-2 loss in Ouagadogou two weeks ago against Burkina Faso in Banjul.

A regional rivalry would come to the fore in the East African derby between Uganda and Tanzania when both countries come face-to-face yet again in Kampala.

In the first leg, Tanzania managed a 2-1 home win in Dar es Salam but Crested Cranes’ coach Oliver Mbekeka reckons his side’s solitary away goal from the lethal boots of in-form 16-year-old Juliet Nalukenge could prove useful in the final analysis.

Under the guidance of football-passionate coach Lamia Boumehdi, Morocco seemed to be on sure footing after their first leg win over Egypt, the rivalry between the two teams will be reignited in Sale, near Rabat on Sunday.

In another Southern African derby, Zimbabwe welcomes Malawi to Bulawayo after both sides played out a pulsating 1-1 first leg draw at the at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre.

While Gabon are automatically through to the next round following the withdrawal of Democratic Republic of Congo from the Prelims, the other 12 aggregate winners over the two legs will join the drawn bye-trio of Cameroon, Ghana and Nigeria in the next round.

Fixtures

31.01.2020 Gaborone Botswana vs Namibia (7-0)

01.02.2020 Conakry Guinea vs Liberia (0-3)

01.02.2020 Banjul Gambia vs Burkina Faso (2-3)

01.02.2020 Bissau Guinea Bissau vs Mauritania (6-0)

01.02.2020 Pikine Senegal vs Sierra Leone (1-0)

01.02.2020 Kampala Uganda vs Tanzania (1-2)

01.02.2020 Bulawayo Zimbabwe vs Malawi (1-1)

01.02.2020 Johannesburg South Africa vs Zambia (2-0)

02.02.2020 Sale Morocco vs Egypt (5-3)

02.02.2020 Algiers Algeria vs South Sudan (5-0)

02.02.2020 Luanda Angola vs Congo (0-2)

02.02.2020 Bahir Dar Ethiopia vs Burundi (5-0)