Starlets pick morale boosting win over Egypt

By alex wafula
Oct 28, 2021
  • Christine Nafula is unstoppable against Egypt's Mahira Aly. Harambee Starlets wound up their preparations with a 1-0 win over Egypt. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

  • The local preparations for Harambee Starlets ended with a morale boosting 1-0 win over Egypt in a friendly on Friday. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

Corazon Aquino’s 36th minute goal handed Harambee Starlets a morale boosting 1-0 win over fellow African Women’s Cup of Nations side Egypt in a friendly match played on Friday afternoon at the Kasarani Stadium.

Starlets were in utter dominance throughout the match and should have scored more goals were they sharper in attack.

David Ouma was elated with the result which he says will give his girls confidence ahead of the AWCON which kicks off in Cameroon in three weeks.

He has however admitted the absence of striker Neddy Atieno who to join the Kenya Defense Forces has given him a new headache. “Neddy has been with us all through and missing her will be a huge setback for the team. I was banking on her but we will have to look elsewhere. I was happy today because I deployed Corazon into that position and she justified her start with a goal,” Ouma said after the match.

He also added the FKF Secretary General Robert Muthomi has written to the KDF asking whether they could have her for the Cup of Nations, but it is highly unlikely she will be allowed out.

Egypt who are in Group A alongside Cameroon, Zimbabwe and South Africa were content with the result with Mohamed Mostafa, the Egyptian coach saying he picked vital lessons from the match.

“We have been camping in South Africa and this was our third match on one week, that’s why at some point the players were very tired. I think we played relatively well and we saw where we need to change and over the next three weeks, we will get to rectify,” Mostafa told Sports News Arena.

Mostafa: Bulk up. You are in a tough group

He also praised Starlets for their performance, but challenged them to bulk up physically especially as they are placed in a group of West African Nations for the AWCON.

“They pass the ball very well, play in a structure and are very disciplined. But when it comes to physicality, I think they have to work on that,” Mostafa added.

In this match, Harambee Starlets had a powerful start to the match with Cherish Avilia having the earliest chance of the match, a seventh minute shot from an Esse Akida shot which was saved for a corner.

Aquino had an opportunity as well in the 12th minute but her shot from close range after controlling a Mary Kinuthia cross went over.

Egypt who had been pushed to their own half for most of the opening exchanges struggled to keep up, save for a few moments of brilliance.

In the 23rd minute, Starlets custodian Samantha Akinyi was forced to push Suzanne Louise’s freekick against the bar from 25 yards out. The hosts got into the lead in the 36th minute when Aquino side footed from close range a cross from Kinuthia.

Egypt defender Sara Abdallah had stopped chasing for the ball on the by line, thinking it was going out but Starlets skipper Kinuthia kept the chase to pick the ball and cross for Aquino to score.

In the second half, the hosts kept the push and Kinuthia was denied by the Egyptian keeper after Akida switched the ball beautifully for her skipper. On the opposite end, Engy Ahmed saw her freekick go inches over, as the Egyptians searched for an equalizer.

Ouma made changes

With 15 minutes left, Ouma made changes, Aquino coming off for Sharon Bushenei while Akida came off for Lydia Akoth.

Starlets bulked up numbers upfront with Bushenei and Akoth adding some energy in attack but lacked the final precision. In the 78th minute, left back Wendy Achieng came close to doubling Starlets’ lead but his freekick from the edge of the box came off the upright.

Two minutes to the final whistle, Bushenei squandered a brilliant chance, allowing the Egyptian keeper to save one on one after a good square pass from Kinuthia.

Harambee Starlets will now shift their attention to their final training match against Cameroon in Limbe, the venue where they will play their group matches when the tournament starts on November 19.

The Egyptians had on Wednesday played to a 1-1 draw with Women Premier League side Thika Queens in their first friendly match. Ezet Amany scored for the Egyptians after her free-kick the left slipped through the fingers of Queens goalkeeper Maureen Shimole.

The Thika based side however levelled in the 17th minute via a Lucy Mukhwana header.

Line ups

Kenya: Samantha Akinyi, Ann Aluoch, Elizabeth Ambogo, Dorcas Shikobe, Wendy Achieng, Cherish Avilia, Esse Akida, Mary Kinuthia, Christine Nafula, Corazon Aquino; Replacements: Vivian Akinyi, Irene Ogutu, Lilian Odera, Doris Anyango, Lydia Akoth, Sharon Bushenei, Jacky Ogol, Janet Moraa, Jackline Akoth, Maureen Karambu.

Egypt: Maha El Demerdash, Engy Ahmed, Sarah Abdallah, Fayza Hidar, Mahira Aly, Mima Mohsen, Mervat Farouk, Noha Tarek, Aliaa Shukry, Suzanne Louise, Rama Amr; Replacements: Mariam Ashraf, Nadin Yasser, Rehab Eid, Amany Ezat, El Ham Eid, Sara Essam, Amany Rashad. Michele Habiba, Sherouk Sayed, Esraa Osama.