Starlets set high target ahead of trip to Cameroon for AFCON
The brave Harambee Starlets will jet out on Friday for Yaounde, Cameroon, to compete in the twelfth edition of African Women Cup of Nations finals.
The team under the tutelage of youthful coach David Ouma will be making their debut in the continental showpiece and will brush shoulders with the continent’s best.
The squad of 21 players and seven technical bench members will depart from the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport at 7.30 aboard a Kenya Airways flight.
From Yaounde, the team will travel by road to Limbe city, approximately 304 kilometres west of the capital, where they will be based and will also play against their hosts in a final build-up match on Sunday.
The Starlets, who are in Group ‘B’ together with Mali, Ghana and cup holders Nigeria, will launch their quest for the crown on November 20, at the Stade Municipal de Limbe against Ghana, before facing Mali on November 23. They will wind up the group matches with tantalising clash with Nigeria on November 26.
Hosts Cameroon are in Group ‘A’ together with Egypt, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
The team will on Thursday be treated to a farewell luncheon by the federation at the Kasarani hostels before they fly out on Friday.
Lead striker Neddy Atieno will however not make the trip as she has taken up a job offer with the Kenya Defence Forces.
“We have prepared them well. It’s the best preparations any football team has ever had in a long time in our country and now the time has come for them to go and do the job. The aim is a semis and the ball is in their court,” FKF President Nick Mwendwa said.
He added: “The Ministry of Sports has paid the bills, Kenyans will be behind them and we can only wish them well.”
The Starlets head to the West African nation as the underdogs but if their performance in the recent build-up matches are to be used as a yardstick, then they will be no push overs.
In their three month marathon preparations, the girls have proved that they can go toe-to-toe with the continent’s powerhouses and this is exemplified by the famous 1-0 win over Egypt in a build-up contest last week at the Safaricom Stadium, Kasarani.
Their impressive run in the Cecafa Women’s Champion where they finished runners up to Tanzania did not go unnoticed and so was their repertoire in Morocco, where they won two of their friendly matches with chastening victories, a 6-1 mauling of CAK Khenifra, and a 8-1 rout of Wydad Casablanca.