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Optimism as Starlets depart for CECAFA tourney in Rwanda

National women football team, Harambee Starlets, left yesterday for Rwanda where they will participate in the third edition of the Council for East and Central Africa Football Associations (CECAFA) Women Championship to be hosted at Stade de Kigali from July 19-27.

Having missed the title during the second edition of CECAFA, which was making a return after a three-decade absence, by a whisker after losing 2-1 to holders Tanzania, Starlets are going all out for the title in the five-nation tourney, which will be played in a round-robin format. Coach David Ouma has a 20-player squad most of whom did duty against Uganda and Equatorial Guinea in the Africa Women Cup of Nations (AWCON) qualifiers and is confident they are mentally, tactically and physically prepared to win the title this time.

“We are meeting teams that play defensive football and capitalise on counter attacks and we have designed our play to counter that. We will rely on cutbacks from wide areas to deliver the balls to the strikers and maximise on any chances created for early goals,” said Ouma.

Starlets struggled to convert set pieces in their recent international matches, chances if converted could have handed them a chance to play in their second AWCON. Ouma will have the uphill task of ensuring their training drills on the same are put to use in this tournament.

“We had a two-week residential training and that was one of our areas of concentration. We have worked on our reaction time and speed in the box as well as positioning near the post while taking set pieces. Agility is key to successfully converting set pieces and I hope the players put to use what we trained on in camp,” said Ouma.

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