National women’s football team, Harambee Starlets, launch their Confederation of South African Football Associations (Cosafa) campaign against lowly-ranked Mozambique at the Luveve Stadium, in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe today.
Kenya, who are making a maiden appearance to the event on invitation basis, start favourites by virtue of their Fifa ranking where they are placed 23 unlike their opponents who lie way beyond the 100 mark.
However, all eyes will be on the newly-appointed coach Richard Kanyi on how he will draft the first 11 after some reliable and regulars players failed to make it to the final 20 either through technicalities, through personal reasons and injuries.
With striking duo of Mary Kinuthia and Esse Akida out due to personal reasons it will be interesting to see whether Kanyi will deploy newcomers Lucy Mukhwana and Phoebe Oketch.
The tactician will, however, be inspired by the presence of formidable duo of Neddy Atieno and Mwanahalima Adam.
Without Christine Nafula in the mix and Jack Ogol having been dropped, Cherish Avilia is expected to headline the midfield alongside Carolyne Anyango and Caroline Kiget while debutant Florence Awino will be out to impress the new coach in the hunt for a regular starting spot.
Captain Wendy Achieng headlines the defence after Irene Ogutu was ruled out with a knee injury. Wendy is expected to work in unison with Dorcas Shikobe, Lilian Adera and Doris Anyango.
On paper, Kenya are favourites to book one of the first two group positions to proceed to the next stage, but captain Achieng says they will not be overconfident.
Achieng, who features for Spedag in the Women’s Premier League noted that they will take one game at a time.
She said: “It’s a good opportunity for us to play in the event and as much as our group looks favourable will not be complacent. We will give our best shot and hopefully, we will proceed to the next stage.”
The national team will then face off with Mauritius on Saturday before wrapping up their group ‘B’ matches with a tie against Swaziland on Monday.