Anyone can miss a penalty – Coach Beldine stands by Nekesa despite late miss

NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 29 – Harambee Starlets head coach Beldine Odemba has rallied behind striker Violet Nanjala despite missing a last minute penalty that would have handed the team a 2-1 victory over Botswana in the first leg of the final qualification tie for next year’s Women’s Cup of Nations.

Nanjala who came on in the second half took responsibility after Janet Moraa’s cross was handled inside the box, but she saw her spotkick saved by the keeper.

She was crestfallen at the final whistle,. And it had to take effort from her teammates to pull her from the ground.

And now, her coach has stood behind her and has tipped her to bounce back stronger.

“There is absolutely no regrets on the person chosen to take the penalty. Last time when we beat Cameroon, she stepped up and scored a very good penalty,” Odemba said.

She added; “Sometimes, players need to give themselves confidence and at that time, it is a very crucial moment of the game. There are players who will walk away because they don’t want to shoulder the blame but there are some who feel they are confident enough and in this instance, Violet felt confident.”

Violet Nanjala walks away after her last minute penalty was saved. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu
Violet Nanjala walks away after her last minute penalty was saved. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

“We will make sure we talk to her because definitely it can affect her. We will do a lot of scoring exercises in training to bring her confidence back. Penalties are 50-50. It is not a matter of life and death. Of course we wanted a win at that moment and it was on her shoulder. But the fact she couldn’t convert should not drain her confidence.”

Odemba has also admitted the technical bench will have a lot to do to boost the team’s confidence, especially reading by the body language of the players at the final whistle.

The tactician believes they will bounce back.

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“We will talk to them, we will watch the game back together because there were more mistakes and not just the penalty. We shall work on every mistake and we shall make sure everyone has their confidence back,” noted the tactician.

Starlets will have a recovery session on Thursday, before two more sessions ahead of their sojourn to Gaborone.

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