Last updated 8 months ago | By Rodgers Eshitemi
Kenya national women’s football team Harambee Starlets, who were eliminated from the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games qualifying tournament, have shifted their focus to this month’s Cecafa Women Championship in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
The Starlets, who left for Dar es Salaam yesterday morning, lost 1-0 (3-2) on aggregate to Zambia’s Shepolopolo in the penultimate round of the Olympic Games qualifiers on Monday.
The national team will now be seeking redemption in the regional tournament that kicks off on Saturday at Chamazi Stadium.
The national team lost 2-1 to Tanzania’s Twiga Stars in the final of the last edition of the tournament held in 2016 in Jinja, Uganda.
Kenya kick off their Group B campaign on Sunday with a clash against Ethiopia before entertaining Djibouti on Tuesday.
They will wrap up their preliminary round against rivals Uganda on Thursday.
Though disappointed with his side’s exit from the Olympic qualifying tournament, Starlets head coach David Ouma believes this is the best time for the team to stamp their authority in the regional tournament.
“It was so close yet so far for us in the Olympic qualifiers, but I’m proud of my players’ performance," said Ouma.
"Reaching the fourth round was a great achievement for these young players. I think we are slowly becoming a force to reckon with in the continent."
“Cecefa presents us with a perfect chance to redeem ourselves. We have played well against stronger teams from other regions. We now have a good team to compete well at Cecafa and as always, we are being considered as a team to beat. But we can’t get carried by that because we know the dynamics of Cecafa.”
Thika Queens forward Mwanalima Adam added: “We have gained valuable experience and learnt a lot from the Olympic qualifiers.”