SECTIONS

No retreat, no surrender for Starlets

Kenya Harambee Starlets' Mwanalima Adam celebrate a goal during their first leg of Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualifier match against Zambia at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani on Friday, Nov 8, 2019. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Ouma confident ahead of crunch regional gold medal match.

There will be a lot at stake as national women’s football team, Harambee Starlets battle with Tanzania’s Twiga Stars in today’s final of the 2019 Cecafa Championship at the Chamazi Stadium, Dar es Salaam.

The 4pm encounter will be proceeded by an early kick off, the third place play-off tie between Uganda’s Crested Cranes and Burundi at 1:30pm.

But save for the bragging rights, a lot will be in line in the eagerly awaited regional tournament final.

While the high-flying Kenya will be out to revenge their 2-1 final defeat to Tanzania in Gulu, Uganda in 2016, the hosts are seeking to successfully defend the title in front of their home fans.

Both teams have had an impressive run in the tournament, winning all their last four matches and scoring a combined 45 goals (Kenya-22 and Tanzania-23) including Saturday’s semifinals victories to set up an epic battle.

Kenya thrashed Burundi 5-0 in the first semifinal before Tanzania laboured to overcome Uganda 1-0.

Even as Starlets face a test of character today, coach David Ouma feels this is a perfect opportunity to exalt revenge on Twigs Stars.

“We have been tight at the back throughout the tournament and that’s why we’ve not been conceding, but the real test will be today against Tanzania,” said Ouma.

“We are going for nothing short than victory. I have watched Tanzania’s games and I have seen they like playing from the flanks, but we have a strategy to handle them and counter their threats.”

Having watched his captain Dorcas Shikobe score from a corner kick against Burundi, the former Sofapaka and Posta Rangers coach believes they now have more options to threaten their opponents.

“I’m glad our work on set pieces finally paid off during the semifinals as Dorcas Shikobe scored from the corner kick. It gives us a good feeling ahead of the final match on Monday. It’s my hope that we will do this again in  the final,” said Ouma.

Meanwhile, Harambee Starlets and their head coach David Ouma have been nominated for the women national team and coach of the year awards by the Confederation of African Football (Caf).

Also in the list for coach of the year are Bruce Mwape (Zambia), Nigeria’s Thomas Dennerby and South Africa’s Desiree Ellis.

This is the second time in three years that the national women’s team is in the race to bag the continental award.