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February 19, 2018

U20 side on course for World Cup slot after holding Ethiopia

Makolanders' Sylvia Wasilwa vies for the ball with U20 forward Cynthia Silwatso during a recent friendly match
Makolanders' Sylvia Wasilwa vies for the ball with U20 forward Cynthia Silwatso during a recent friendly match

After playing away to 2-2 against Ethiopia in the first leg of the first round of the 2018 FIFA under 20 World Cup qualifier on Sunday, the national women’s team will be hoping to kill off the two-legged encounter when they hosts their opponents in Nairobi on September 29.

The side coached by Caroline Ajowi will need either a win or a draw not bigger than one-all to book a slot in the second qualification round where the winner of a clash between Algeria and Ghana awaits.

The young Kenyans, who were trailing 2-0 heading into the break at the Hawassa International Stadium on Sunday thanks to early goals from hosts’ Mirkat Felek and Alamnesh Germew, had to dig deep to pick a crucial away point.

Goals from captain Corazon Aquino and Maureen Khakasa in the dying minutes of the second half restored parity and definitely redeemed Kenya’s chances heading into the return leg in a fortnight.

The team is expected in the country today, where they are expected to resume back to residential training in Machakos in preparations for the crucial return fixture in a yet to be communicated venue.

“The team arrive tomorrow (today) from Ethiopia,” said Football Kenya Federation Communication Officer Barry Otieno. “We would like them to go straight to camp in preparation for the return leg but this will be guided by the technical bench, who might have other plans.”

“We are yet to firm up on the venue for the return leg match since our preferred venues are being renovated in readiness of the Africa Nations Championships (Chan) set for January next year in Kenya,” added Otieno.

Kenya headed to the game on the back of easy passage to the first round having beaten Botswana 7–0 in the first leg of the preliminary round in July before the southern Africa nation chickened out of the return leg, citing financial constraints.

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