Who will blink first? Starlets host Zambia at Kasarani
- Entry is free of charge as Football Kenya Federation looks to increase attendance to give the home side maximum advantage.
Harambee Starlets coach David Ouma has issued a rallying cry to Kenyans to show up in large numbers for their Olympic Qualifiers fourth round, first leg match against Zambia’s Shepolopolo on Friday at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.
Entry is free of charge as Football Kenya Federation looks to increase attendance to give the home side maximum advantage.
The Kenyan lasses will be highly dependent on captain and midfielder Corazone Aquino (Gaspo Women) and defender Dorcas Shikobe (Oserian Ladies) to set the pace for the team.
Starlet’s goalkeeper Annette Kundu (Eldoret Falcons) should be weary of Shepolopolo’s strikers Rachael Kundananji (BIIK Kazakhstan) and Barabara Banda (EDF Logrono) who recently returned to the country from their Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) outing with 21 goals and 13 goals under their belts respectively.
“We are not scared of players who have been internationally exposed because we played against better ones in our previous matches and still managed to beat them, plus we can’t afford to lose at home as we expect a large turnout of fans,” said Starlets star midfielder Mwanahalima Adam.
Copper Queens (Shepolopolo) coach Bruce Mwape on Tuesday told the Lusaka Star that he was confident of a win in Nairobi following the beefing up of his squad with foreign-based players.
The stage is thus set for an explosive encounter. The return leg will be held in Lusaka on Monday.
The Starlets beat Malawi (5-3) and Ghana (1-0) on aggregate in their previous rounds to set up Friday’s date with Zambia.
Their Zambian opponents eliminated Botswana (5-0) and Zimbabwe (2-0) on aggregate to reach this stage.
Starlets coach Ouma was extremely confident his squad of experienced players would deliver.
The side also boasts of new call ups defender Providence Kasiala (Wiyeta Girls) and midfielder Sylvia Lumasia (Kibera Girls Soccer Academy).
Ouma told Nation Sport that the FKF and Sports Ministry’s co-operation came at the right time last week, giving the players motivation ahead of the showdown.
“We commend the federation and the ministry for reminding the girls that they are valued and their efforts are not unrecognised. We know there are always challenges and therefore we are grateful for their support in our journey of making history,” said Ouma.
“Zambia’s team is one of the best with very athletic players but my team has trained well and the girls are fit for the match,” said Ouma.
The aggregate winner of the two legged tie will advance to the final round of the qualifiers where either Cameroon or Ivory Coast await.
The winner of the final round will sail through to the Tokyo 2020 Games while the loser will face Chile in the inter-confederation play-offs.
Goalkeepers: Annette Kundu (Eldoret Falcons), Judith Osimbo (Vihiga Queens), Wilfrida Seda (Gaspo), Monica Odato (Wadadia)
Defenders: Vivian Nasaka (Vihiga Queens), Dorcas Shikobe (Oserian Ladies), Lydia Akoth (Thika Queens), Lucy Akoth (Mathare United Women), Ruth Ingosi (Eldoret Falcons), Wincate Kaari (Gaspo Women), Nelly Sawe (Thika Queens), Dorcas Shiveka (Eldoret Falcons), Sylvia Lumasia (Kibera Girls Soccer Academy)
Midfielders: Jentrix Shikangwa (Wiyeta Girls), Cynthia Shilwatso (Vihiga Queens), Sheril Angachi (Gaspo Women), Corazone Aquino (Gaspo Women), Mwanahalima Adam (Thika Queens), Elizabeth Wambui (Gaspo Women), Providence Kasiala (Wiyeta Girls)
Forwards: Topistar Situma (Vihiga Queens), Bertha Omita (Kisumu All Starlets), Mercy Airo (Kisumu All Starlets), Janet Bundi (Eldoret Falcons)
Goalkeepers: Hazel Nali (Green Buffaloes), Inutu Muchahabali (YASA), Ng’ambo Musole (Zesco), Annie Namonje (Indeni)
Defenders: Agnes Musesa, Anita Mulenga, Martha Tembo (all Green Buffaloes), Emeldah Musonda, Fikile Khosa, Margaret Belemu, Mary Mulenga (all Red Arrows), Lushomo Mwemba (Nkwazi), Vast Phiri (Zesco), Mapalo Kapindula (Breakthrough)
Midfielders: Misozi Zulu (BIIK Kazakhstan), Judith Zulu, Mary Mwakapila (both Green Buffaloes), Hellen Chanda, Prsica Chilufya (both Red Arrows), Rhodah Chileshe (Indeni)
Striekrs: Theresa Chewe (Indeni), Grace Chanda (Zesco), Hellen Mubanga (Red Arrows), Rachael Nachula (Green Buffaloes), Rachael Kundananji (BIIK Kazakhstan), Barabara Banda (EDF Logrono)