It was reality check for national women’s football team Harambee Starlets as they suffered their only defeat in the match that mattered—the Cecafa women’s tournament final—in Jinja, Uganda, yesterday.
Bidding to lift the title after winning all their matches en route to the finals, Starlets received a rude shock as they found themselves on the back foot twice and even a late comeback did not help their course as they lost the match 2-1 to Kilimanjaro Queens of Tanzania.
Tanzania opened the scoring in the 27th minute through Mwanahamisi Omari who went on to register a brace a minute to the break before Christine Nafula’s goal in the early minutes of the second half gave David Ouma’s girls hope. However, the Queens stood firm to claim the victory.
As the only East African representative at the 12th edition of the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations, Starlets were assumed to be the better side in the tournament which they were using to prepare for the continental event but they will now have to go back to the drawing board if they are to succeed.
Kenya are in Pool B with West African giants Mali, Nigeria and Ghana and given the pedigree of these teams, Ouma and his charges must prepare properly before heading to Cameroon for the November 19-December 3 event.
The Kenyans have little time to mourn this setback as they will be required to begin early training for the Cup of Nations, meaning Football Kenya Federation (FKF) will also have to set up serious build-up matches which will boost their confidence.
Kenya began their Ceacafa campaign with identical 4-0 wins over Uganda and Burundi respectively before finishing their group matches with a 11-0 demolition of Zanzibar. They would record a narrow 3-2 victory over Ethiopia in the semi-final on Sunday before yesterday’s setback.