Last four in the balance

Abeer Anwar , Tuesday 9 Nov 2021

Egypt’s Wadi Degla are aiming for the semi-finals of the TotalEnergies CAF Women’s Champions League, reports Abeer Anwar

Wadi Degla
Wadi Degla ladies won their opener against AS Mand of Mali

Hosts Wadi Degla of Egypt have their work cut out for them after losing 3-0 to Malabo Kings of Equatorial Guinea in the second group match game of the TotalEnergies CAF Women’s Champions League being played in Cairo.

The Equatoguineans dominated the game on Monday as Stephanie Gbegou opened the scoring for Malabo Kings at the 13th minute from the spot.

She completed her brace scoring her third goal of the tournament, at the 41st minute, with the first half ending 2-0 in favour of Malabo.

After the break, Grace Balongo added the third goal for Malabo. Wadi Degla goalkeeper Nasra Abdel-Malek made huge saves that could have made the loss far worse.

Malabo thus grabbed their first three points of the group to go level with Degla.

As it stands, with two games gone and one to play in Group A, Ghana’s Hasaacas Ladies have six points, Wadi Degla and Malabo Kings of Equatorial Guinea are on three points each and Mali’s AS Mande are rock bottom with no points.

On Thursday 11 November, Wadi Degla were scheduled to play Hasaacas while Malabo will meet Mande.

Although Wadi Degla were able to write history by wiping off Mali’s AS Mande 3-1 in the opening game and record the first ever win of the maiden TotalEnergies CAF Women’s Champions League, the hosts were aiming to go to the semi-finals at the 30 June Stadium, a historic feat for the side that has won a record 12 Egyptian women’s league titles. But that didn’t happen.

 “We had a very difficult game,” Wael Al-Sayed, Wadi Degla’s coach said after the defeat. “We lost the game early due to physical difficulties. We are not satisfied with the result. The next game is decisive for us. I hope we can win it to continue our journey in this tournament.

“We had some individual mistakes in the defence and our finish was not good due to the total dependence on individual efforts. When we played in the last minutes as a team, we were better.

“I thank my girls for their efforts. They already gathered themselves to move on from this match, and I’ll work with them to regain their confidence for the next important game,” Al-Sayed said.

Wadi Degla’s goals against Mali’s AS Mande came first from Noha Mamdouh for the historic first ever TotalEnergies CAF Women’s Champions League goal which paved the way for the Yellow Blacks to go all the way for maximum points. Fatumatu Dukureh and Jassmin Theresa added Wadi Degla’s two other goals, with goalkeeper Abdel-Malek producing some heroics to keep her side’s precious win intact.

On the flip side, coming into the tournament as one of the favourites after their impressive qualification run that saw them winning all their four games on the road to Cairo, Malabo Kings were shocked by an opening 3-1 defeat to Ghana’s Hasaacas Ladies.

The tournament, the first of its kind on African soil, is currently being played in two groups of four teams each.

*A version of this article appears in print in the 11 November, 2021 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

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