•Lionesses seeking second appearance at Olympics having played in 2016 in Brazil
•Kenya open campaign against Ghana
Kenya Lionesses head coach Felix Oloo has named an unchanged side for the Africa 2020 Tokyo Olympic qualifiers set for next week in Tunisia.
Oloo maintained the core of the team that did duty at the unsuccessful Africa World Cup qualifiers in South Africa in August as they battle to clinch a direct ticket to the global showpiece against Africa's best teams.
Philadelphia Olando will skipper the team assisted by Sheila Chajira in the two-day tournament.
The Lionesses are top seeds in Pool A where they’ll meet Senegal, Ghana and Botswana on day one. Neighbours and last year’s runners up Uganda top Pool B alongside South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia while Pool C comprises of hosts Tunisia, Morocco, Mauritius and Madagascar.
The winner of the qualifiers will book a ticket to the Tokyo bonanza while the runners up will play in the repechage next year.
"We have picked a strong squad. We have been training for the past two months and the girls are in good shape and ready for battle,” said Oloo.
Oloo said they have received good tips from Kenya Sevens-cum-technical director Paul Feeney.
"Feeney has given good advice on certain aspects of the game on where we need to improve and I believe the girls will be better," revealed Oloo.
Kenya are the reigning Africa champions and Olando is optimistic about Kenya's chances of progressing to the event having played at the Rio Olympics in 2016. “Our target is South Africa. We’ve played them a couple of times since 2015 and this time round we’ll give everything. We must qualify,” Olando said.
The Lionesses will kick off their campaign against Ghana on October 12 followed respectively by encounters against Botswana and Senegal on the opening day.
Kenya Rugby Union chief executive Sylvia Kamau has appealed to the government to release Sh32 million for the side ahead of the qualifiers.
Kamau noted that the money was approved at the Sports Fund but is yet to hit the union accounts.
“We are asking the government to come through and support the team in their quest to qualify for the Olympics next year," said Kamau.
Squad: Cynthia Camilla( Homeboyz), Janet Okello(Mwamba), Grace Adhiambo (Nakuru), Celestine Masinde(Mwamba), Diana Awino(Impala), Leah Wambui (Homeboyz), Janet Owino (Homeboyz), Vivian Akumu(Nakuru), Christabel Lindo (Impala), Stella Wafula(Impala), Philadelphia Olando(Northern Suburbs), Sheila Chajira(Homeboyz).