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Starlets out to seal Africa Nations slot with global showpiece place

Harambee Starlets head coach David Ouma is upbeat about the team’s success in the upcoming Africa Women Cup of Nations (AWCON) qualifiers and has an elaborate plan that will result in the side featuring in their maiden World Cup.

His return to Starlets, which he says was necessitated by the need to fight for a 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup ticket, came with six additions to the squad that did duty in the 3-0 win over Zambia in a friendly match last week.

Goalkeepers Brenda Achieng and Monica Karambu, defenders Elizabeth Ambogo and Juliet Auma as well as forwards Mercy Airo and Esse Akida have joined the team currently camping in Machakos.

“We had a very weak defence and we had to add the two defenders who can build play from the back. Ambogo has a strong kick that can give us quick counter attacks. They will also be able to read any match and stop the ball from our own half as they cover the backline well,” explained Ouma.

Ouma’s technical bench has a blend of youth and experience in the scoring unit. Akida and Airo will join Vihiga Queens’ Terry Egesha, Cynthia Shilwatso and Phoebe Owiti as well as goal poachers Mwanahalima Adam and Neddy Atieno.

“The forwards offer the chance to play a variation of attack in the same match depending on who I pair upfront. The depth in the squad also gives me a choice on who to start and who to send in to rescue us when needed depending on the opponent at hand,” said Ouma.

The coach was, however, quick to indicate that they are working their way to the AWCON one match at a time, from where they will devise a plan of qualifying for the World Cup since the top three teams in AWCON qualify for the global showpiece. “We will not take risks with any team.

We will take one match at a time and respect every opponent, however, weak they may look. We are ready for the task ahead and have emphasised on mental preparation. We will capitalise on home advantage as our performance here will dictate how we approach the away match against Uganda,” he added.

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