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Kenya’s women’s team return home after Cecafa cancellation

National women’s football team, Harambee Starlets, yesterday cut short preparations for the Council of East and Central Africa Football Associations (CECAFA) Championships that was to take place from May 11-22 following the postponement of the event by the Rwanda Association Football Federation (FERWAFA) sighting lack of funds.

Starlets went to camp in Machakos on April 25, ahead of the tournament days after eliminating Uganda 1-0 on aggregate in the first round of the Africa Women’s Cup of Nations qualifiers.

The team later returned to Nairobi where they camped at a city hotel while holding their training sessions at Kiambu’s Gikambura Stadium so as to familiarise themselves with the artificial turf which they expected to use in Rwanda.

“The reason behind the postponement of the tournament is basically due to the unavailability of hosting funds initially meant to be sent to the Rwanda FA by Cecafa,” read part of Rwanda Football Federation’s statement two days ago.

Rwanda FA says that this is despite repeated correspondence and calls to the Cecafa secretariat requesting hosting funds to be availed to ensure the smooth organisation of the tournament. “FERWAFA will take a decision to host this tournament upon receipt of hosting funds.

At that time, both FERWAFA and Cecafa will sit to decide on the suitable dates when this tournament will be staged,” the statement read.

Starlets head coach David Ouma had a provisional squad of 26 in camp which was to be whittled down to 20 and be accompanied by five officials for the tournament which is in its third edition.

The coach, having guided the side to a second-place finish in the last edition held in 2016 in Uganda, had his eyes on the title that Tanzania denied him.

“I expect stiff competition but we will prepare for the championship with the trophy in mind. I have ensured a strong squad in my call-ups and the positions are open to anyone who shows the zeal and skill to fit what we need in the team,” Ouma had underscored a day before the squad went to camp.

Ouma will now shift his focus to their next assignment where they face Equatorial Guinea in the second and final qualifying round of the Africa Cup of Nations between June 4 and June 12.

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