Atieno places Starlets in safe hands: Kenya to play Ethiopians in repeat of last year’s semi

By Rebecca Jebet: Wednesday, July 25th 2018 at 00:11 GMT +3 | Football
Goalkeeper Harambee Starlets' Poline Atieno in their match against Equaitorial Guinea during first leg of AWCON qualifier at Kenyatta stadium Machakos County on Wednesday, June 6, 2018. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

National women’s football team seeks maiden win as they face Ethiopia.

When Kenya national women’s football team, Harambee Starlets take on Ethiopia in their third match of the CECAFA Championships today at Stadio de Kigali, Nyamirambo, keen interest will be on goalkeeper Pauline Atieno.

Starlets, who remain winless from their opening two matches, will be hoping their top custodian remains stoic as they hunt for their first maximum points when they play Ethiopia from 3pm.

Atieno has conceded twice in their last two matches and for Kenya to register their first win, then the goalkeeper will play a key role in their campaign.

This will be a repeat of last edition’s semi-final clash where Kenya picked a famous 3-2 win to book a final place against Tanzania, but lost 2-1 to finish second.

This will be a tricky affair for the David Ouma-coached side that has been struggling following the second round exit from the African Women Cup of Nations.

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They lost 3-2 on aggregate to former continental champions, Equatorial Guinea.

Coming into today’s fixture, Kenya drew 1-1 against holders Kilimanjaro Queens of Tanzania, while Ethiopia defeated hosts, She Amavubi of Rwanda, 3-0 win to bring their point tally to four, three ahead of Kenya.

Rwanda got off to a flying start following a 1-0 victory over holders Tanzania in their championship opener.

This was the first win for Ethiopia, who were left shocked after losing 1-0 to the fast-rising Crested Cranes of Uganda in their opening match.

Kenya also lost by the same margin to Uganda in their championships’ opener.

Both sides will be hoping to pick maximum points in the five-nation championships considering that it is played in a round-robin format.

The team with the most points will be crowned champions in the regional tournament.

Players to watch in the today’s match include speedy striker Neddy Atieno and Mwanahalima Adam.

Harambee Starlets will be seek guidance from their captain Atieno, who is expected to partner with Adam in search of goals.

Atieno is yet to score in this championships, while Adam has one goal which she scored from a corner kick against Tanzania.

Esse Akida, who starred during the last edition with five goals, is yet to show her scoring prowess, but she should be key in this match.

Ethiopia, on the other hand, will be powered by their experienced forward Meselu Abera, who scored an opener in their match against Rwanda.They will also have Senaf Demise, who also was on the score sheet against Rwanda.

After three days, Uganda are leading with six points, despite losing 4-1 to holders Tanzania.

Tanzania are second with four points, Ethiopia are third with three, Rwanda are fourth (three points) and Kenya have one point.

Uganda will play Rwanda in the late kick-off.

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