Super-sub Jentrix Shikangwa struck from the spot in extra time as Harambee Starlets stunned Ghana's Black Queens 1-0 in the return leg to advance to the fourth round of the Olympics qualifiers at the Moi International Sports Centre Kasarani on Tuesday.
Both teams had played to a barren draw in the regulation time, just like was the case in the first leg in Accra last week.
Kenya now await the winner between Botswana and Zambia in the fourth round of the qualifiers.
Starlets coach David Ouma made one change to the squad that did duty during the first round away in Ghana last Friday introducing Kisumu Starlets forward Mercy Airo for Cynthia Shilwatso.
The hosts, who took time to settle, had two clear open chances in the 15th and 21st minute but Airo who was fed in the two occasions shot into waiting hands of Ghanaian goalkeeper Dumehasi Fafali.
Kenya slowly grew in the game and gave as much as they received but it was the West Africans who kept pushing in search of an opener but goalkeeper Annette Kundu kept them at bay with her superb saves to end the half in a barren draw.
In the second half, Ouma rested Airo for Shilwatso as the search for goals gathered ground.
Mwanahalima Adam fed Sheryl Angachi in the far corner few minutes into the second half but her shot was cleared by Elizabeth Owusuaa.
Ghanaian coach Mercy Quarcoo then made two substitutions, resting Gladys Amfoebea and Evelyne Badu for Justice Twereboaa and Grace Acheampong as the match gathered momentum.
Kenya’s Janet Bundi and Elizabeth Wambui then paved way for Shikangwa and Topista Situma but the substitutions did little to change the stalemate as the second half once again ended 0-0.
In extra time, Ouma's charges seemed to go for an early goal with few attempts punctuating the early exchanges. Eight minutes into extra time, Shilwatso's pin-point delivery from a corner kick was met by Angachi's thumping header. Twereboaa deliberately stopped the goal-bound ball using her left hand, forcing the referee to point to the spot.
Shikangwa stepped forward and sent Fafali the wrong way to the joy of the handful fans that had attended the match.
“It’s a good feeling that I got to score the winning goal. With Ghana behind us, I feel we can match up to any team and go all the way to the Olympics,” said Shikangwa, who plays for Vihiga Queens in the Women Premier League.
Ouma said the team is headed in the right direction.
“I’m excited about the win and more so for Shikangwa who scored the all important goal. With this result we can only hope for the best. But we are reaching out to government to support this team as I believe with proper preparations we can excel,” observed Ouma.