Mali striker Agueissa Diarra has spoken about her new goals after their botched title dreams at the 2019 Wafu ‘A’ Women’s Cup of Nations in Sierra Leone last March.
The 21-year-old powered Les Aiglons past Cape Verde 4-0 to a semi-final but they shockingly bowed out to Senegal 3-0 in the final of the tournament.
Strikes from Ndeye Diakhate, Mbayang Sow and Haby Balde helped the Senegalese silence the Malians to be crowned champions of their first-ever regional championship in Makeni.
The Super Lionnes forward, who clinched the top scorer award with eight goals in five games, shared part of her incredible career journey to the senior level.
“My [football] passion has grown because my elder brother motivates me continuously,” Diarra told Cafonline.
“He wakes me up early every morning to join him for training which inspires me a lot to train harder. Also, he has taught me to play easy and show my skills during games and help my team to win matches.
“This [top scorer award] is a big achievement for me and women’s football development, particularly in Africa. I’m excited to win my first international award.
“My hopes are now high and I’m hoping to sign a contract with a bigger club from Europe or elsewhere.”
Diarra had featured for Mali in their unsuccessful qualifiers for the 2016 U20 Women’s World Cup in Papua New Guinea as they were bounced out by Equatorial Guinea.
In 2018, she was included in the senior team and made a fine impression in their best ever outing in history at the African Women’s Cup of Nations in Ghana, where they finished fourth.
Despite their unfortunate regional title miss, she remains determined to inspire her country’s senior national side to title success on the continent in the coming years.
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“Each game I play, I want to score and when I don’t, I become sad. My target is to excel with my national team,” she concluded.
Mali will be seeking to make their eighth continental appearance later this year and Diarra will be hugely relied upon to replicate her fine goalscoring form to seal their qualification spot.
However, they will be required to see off either Wafu champions Senegal or Liberia in the second and final round of the qualifier to guarantee their Awcon 2020 place.