Senegal and Cameroon advanced to the inter-confederation play-off for next year’s women’s World Cup on Sunday after wins over Tunisia and Botswana respectively.
Senegal, who lost to Zambia in the quarter-finals at the Cup of Nations following a penalty shoot-out, progressed by the same method at the Stade Mohamed V in Casablanca.
The match started with a flurry of chances for both teams but eventually descended into caginess.
It finished 0-0 and Senegal claimed the shoot-out 4-2 to qualify for the 10-team play-off between 18 and 23 February in New Zealand which will yield three places for the 32-team tournament.
Cameroon joined that play-off party after a 1-0 win over Botswana at the Stade Prince Heritier Moulay Al Hassan in Rabat.
It took Gabriel Zabo’s team until first-half stoppag time to make the breakthough.
Skipper Ajara Njoya picked up the ball 25 metres out, turned and her snapshot whistled into the bottom right hand corner of Maitumelo Bosija’s goal.
It was no less than Cameroon deserved for dominating the half. The strike atoned for a spate of misses -.Genevieve Mbeleck and Michaela-Batya Abam particularly guilty of profligacy.
Cameroon, who were eliminated by the defending champions Nigeria in the last eight, were unable to add to the scoreline to kill off the game. And they came under pressure in the closing stages following the dismissal in the 83rd minute of Fadimatou Aretouyap.
The 19-year-old was handed a straight red for a crude challenge on Mokgabo Thanda only seven minutes after replacing Genevieve Ngo Mbeleck.
Cameroon managed to cope with her absence to give themselves another chance of reaching a third consecutive World Cup.
“We’re disappointed we didn’t qualify during the Cup of Nations,” said Njoya who was voted woman-of-the-match.
“But we’ve qualified for the play-offs. Now we just have to go there, concentrate on what we have to do and qualify for the World Cup that way.”