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Uganda Cranes legend Ssali backs Starlets to win regional cup

Uganda Cranes legend Paul Ssali has backed Kenya’s Harambee Starlets to not only win the ongoing Cecafa Women Championship, but also extend this dominance to the rest of Africa.

Ssali, who is part of the Uganda national women team (Crested Cranes) technical bench, shared this assessment after watching Kenya’s strong start at the inaugural seven-team regional tournament that is underway at the Njeru Technical College in Jinja.

Kenya posted identical 4-0 wins over the hosts Uganda and Burundi in their opening two matches to storm the semis of the tournament.

“When you watch Kenya play, you see a side that is miles ahead of their opponents (at this tournament),” Ssali who was part of Uganda Cranes team that made it to the final of the 1978 Africa Cup of Nations tournament told Daily Nation Sport.

“With good follow up, this Kenyan team can rule Africa and be competitive beyond the continent. They have all the attributes of a strong side, they are physical, they are fast and their heights are also good,” he added.

The former KCCA FC and Simba custodian also singled goalkeeper Vivian Akinyi, Mary Wanjiku and Essie Akidi (who have each scored two goals thus far) and midfielder Neddy Atieno for praise.

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“Those will be strong pillars for Kenya during the Africa women Nations Cup in Cameroon,” he said.

The Starlets qualified to play at their first ever Nations Cup tournament after defeating Algeria and Botswana in the qualification matches last year.

At the same time, Starlets coach David Ouma has hinted at resting some of his dependable first team members, when Kenya plays against whipping ladies Zanzibar in their final group match on Thursday afternoon.

The islanders have already been eliminated from the competition, having lost twice to Uganda and Burundi, while conceding a whooping 19 goals in the process.

“We are going for a win, I might give some reserve players minutes but the target is one, we must win the game because that’s the kind of momentum we want to take into the knockout stage,” Ouma said.

Apart from winning the game, Ouma says his team is looking to finish top of Group A without conceding a goal.

In the other match of the day, Uganda will battle it out with Burundi in a contest that should determine the remaining semi final fixtures.