Champions Orange Telkom beat Lusaka Sharks 2-0 to book their semi-finals slot in the ongoing Africa Cup of Club Championships at the Olympic Youth Development Centre in Lusaka, Zambia.
Goals from Maureen Okumu and Barbara Simiyu in each half yesterday were enough to keep the reigning champions on course to retaining their title.
They are currently on top of group A with four points from the win and a draw with Ghana Police, who are second with a point. Sharks are last in the pool without a point and will be hoping to secure their first victory when they tackle the Ghanaian law enforcers today.
Orange head coach Jos Openda was impressed with his charges’ performance in the match, saying they had improved compared to their output in the opener.
“They played better than they did in our first match. We had fewer chances today and utilised most of them to secure the win,” Openda said on phone from Lusaka.
Openda lauded their Zambian opponents, saying they (Sharks) played well, citing their familiarity with the pitch, which gave them an edge over his side.
“I was surprised with our opponents. They were remarkable. They capitalised on the fact that we were on unfamiliar grounds and at no time did they relent and make it easy for us.”
Openda said they were now shifting focus to the semis and are ready to meet any club.
“Telkom are comfortable and know their way around an astro-turf pitch but will have to adjust to playing on a sand-based ground.”
Telkom began their hunt for goals from the first whistle as they played offensively, but their efforts were thwarted by a vigilant Sharks defence that initially kept them at bay.
Openda started with experienced players, most of who were in the national team that finished third in the Olympic qualifiers in South Africa.
Save for former internationals Jacqueline Wangeci, Simiyu and Lucy Wangeci who didn’t make the national squad, the line-up was star-studded. Nonetheless, they were unable to break their hosts’ defence that easily. A 20th minute substitution saw youngster Okumu come in and a minute later the former Sinyolo Girls student put Telkom ahead.
She beat the Sharks defence and goalkeeper Esther Mwale to score a fantastic field goal. Sharks once again tightened their defence to force Telkom to a 1-0 lead by the breather.
imiyu scored her first of the tournament to give Telkom a 2-0 victory in the 40th minute.
In another women’s encounter, Ghana Revenue Authority white-washed Weatherhead of Uganda 14-0 to go top of group B. International striker Elizabeth Opuku was in a class of her own as she scored six goals.
onica Sewell-Grant and Linda Barnie netted a hat-trick each while Priscilla Forkuo bagged a brace. They will today play Sharkia women of Egypt who are second in the pool in their last group match. In the men’s contest Niger Flickers of Nigeria subjected homeboys DE Stars to their second defeat with a 10-2 beating.