Harambee Starlets lose to Botswana

By alex wafula
May 22, 2015
  • David Ouma, the Harambee Starlets coach hopes to record good results on May 31 in the return leg against Botswana. (SNA File Photo)

The national women’s football team Harambee Starlets lost 1-2 to Botswana in the first leg of the African Olympic Qualifiers played in Lobatse on Friday.

The Starlets who left the country on Wednesday night have a tough task of getting a positive result in teh return leg on May 31 after scoring a crucial one goal against the hosts. This was a better result that the men's team which was beaten 3-0 by Botswana.

Harambee Starlets arrived in Botswana a day earlier for the match.  “Arriving early will make our minds settle down and we will be psychologically ready for the match. We saw what happened with the boys under 23 team and we would not want it to happen to us," David Ouma, the coach recalled before departure.

Before facing Botswana, the team prepared for one week. 

Africa has only been allocated two Olympic slots and if the Kenyan Starlets manage to skip past Botswana in both legs of the qualifiers played within a week, they will move to round three which involves eight teams.

A draw will be conducted for these eight qualified countries and the winners of the home and away ties qualify for the last round of qualification. Coach David Ouma however says as much as there is a motivation to earn an Olympic slot, the biggest aim of the team is to build up a team and announce Kenya’s presence in women football circles.

Currently, Kenya is ranked provisionally at 138th due to the fact that the national team has not played more than five official matches against other officially ranked teams. This is a fact that Ouma wishes to correct and he is hopeful Kenya can improve its ranking.

“Everyone wants to play in the Olympics, but we can be too overzealous saying we want to be in Rio next year. At the moment, our rankings are way below the needed Olympic standard. First things first, we want to improve on our rankings and put up structures that will help us qualify in the next Olympics.” Ouma added.

The return match is on May 31 and Ouma is confident Kenya could qualify to the next round. He talked about the quality players in the squad.  “We have a crop of very talented girls. The focus is superb and everyone wants to show that women football can also take Kenya to the world map.”

Experienced midfielder Neddy Atieno is the team's captan.

Squad: Pauline Atieno, Samantha Akinyi, Ann Aluoch, Caroline Kiget, Dorcus Shikobe, Irene Ogutu, Mary Kinuthia, Tabaka Chacha, Jacky Ogol, Christine Nafula, Esse Akida, Maurine Achieng, Neddy Atieno, Caroline Anyango, Harriet Fahiri, Cheris Avilia, Veronica Wafula, Wendy Achieng.