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Cranes keeper Aturo offers food for thought for Kenyan bench

Harambee Starlets have to go back to the drawing board and rectify the striking force’s misgivings as the national team heads to the Africa Women Cup of Nations (AWCON) qualifier opening round second leg in Uganda.

Starlets won 1-0 at home against Crested Cranes as Uganda’s goalkeeper Ruth Aturo denied the home girls a big winning margin with brilliant saves. With Cranes enjoying home advantage in the weekend match, Starlets cannot rule out the possibility of a Cranes comeback.

Coach David Ouma’s charges will be treading on dangerous grounds with the slight advantage and will need to play to a draw of any nature or a win to proceed to the second round.

“We did not play very well. We controlled the game but the tempo was too slow and that meant our attacks were not sufficient despite having perfect build-ups. We will have to change that before the return match in Ugandan,” said Ouma.

He added, “We will be working on our game momentum as we head to the return match. Kenya is amongst the top eight teams expected to qualify for AWCON and we have prove that we are on that level.”

Ouma further indicates that the team, after realising the team has a good goalkeeper, will have to change how they play in front of goal and deny her the chance to be in the game.

On her part, Uganda tactician Faridah Bulega says that her squad did well against experienced Starlets, promising a better showing when they face Starlets in the return match. “I am not comfortable with the loss but I am proud of how my players carried themselves on the field.

They followed all my instructions and it was just unfortunate that we lost. Going into the second match, we will work on rectifying the slight mistakes that saw Kenya score and I am confident we will be the better side at home,” said Bulega.

The tactician further explained that he is nurturing a young squad and losing with such a slight margin away goes to show that she is doing everything right. “My players are young and did not come to the match with a losing mentality, they followed all my instructions and we did not see a repeat of 2016 where we lost with bigger margins and that is commendable,” she added.

The winner between Uganda and Kenya will face Equatorial Guinea, who were given a bye to the second round. The AWCON tournament will feature the seven winners of the second round and Ghana who will host the tournament between November 17 to December 1.

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