TEAM RECHARGED

Starlets on the brink of history

David Ouma's gallant girls held out for a 0-0 draw in Accra on Friday, setting the stage for an entertaining second leg whose winner proceeds to the tournament’s fourth qualifying round.

In Summary

•Starlets jetted back into the country on Sunday and held their only training at the match venue yesterday.

•The aggregate winner of today's duel will take on either Zambia or Botswana in the penultimate round of the qualifiers for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics qualifiers.

Harambee Starlets' Elizabeth Wambui (L) contests for the ball with Wincate Kaari during a training session at Camp Toyoyo on September 30
/ ERICK BARASA Harambee Starlets' Elizabeth Wambui (L) contests for the ball with Wincate Kaari during a training session at Camp Toyoyo on September 30

With hundreds of fans set to descend at the Kasarani stadium to back Harambee Starlets after the football Kenya federation waived away gate charges, the Kenya women national team will start as favourites in the return leg fixture of their Olympic Games qualifier duel with Ghana's Black Queens.

Starlets jetted back into the country on Sunday and held their only training at the match venue yesterday. David Ouma's gallant girls held out for a 0-0 draw in Accra on Friday, setting the stage for an entertaining second leg whose winner proceeds to the tournament’s fourth qualifying round.

“Of course playing a draw away to Ghana was a positive result for us. It gives us a good starting point for yet another positive outcome in the second leg on Tuesday,” said Starlets’ coach Ouma.

 

Starlets struggled to create chances in the away match as they largely sought to nullify the Black Queens attack. That is something that must change today if Kenya are to clinch the fourth round ticket in regulation time.

Star forward Mwanahalima Adam, meanwhile, expressed optimism that they will get the job done. Mwanahalima whose two goals in the home leg against Malawi earned Starlets this date with Ghana.

She said: “We played according to the coach’s instructions and achieved the result we wanted. Our hope is that fans will come out in large numbers to support us on Tuesday(today) as we look to get a win that we really need.”

The Thika Queens striker whose knack for scoring important goals is legendary will be required to repeat those feats more than ever this evening. Like in the first leg, Ouma will stick to his tried and tested first eleven.  

Annette Kundu keeps her place in goal as skipper Dorcas Shikobe manning the defence with the help of Wincate Kaari. Starlets will need to keep the Ghanaians attack from getting an away goal just like they restricted them five days ago.

Upfront, Mwanahalima, alongside teenager Jentrix Shikangwa and Cynthia Shilatswo will be tasked with leading the search for goals. Corazon Aquino will have the responsibility of pulling the creative strings and providing the ammunition for the front three.

The aggregate winner of today's duel will take on either Zambia or Botswana in the penultimate round of the qualifiers for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics qualifiers.