NAIROBI, Kenya– Harambee Starlets head coach David Ouma believes that his side are going to have work on what they need to fix on the go as they head to Turkey for an invitational tournament as they start preparations for the 2020 Africa Women’s Cup of Nations qualifiers.
The national women’s football team left the country early Tuesday morning for Istanbul and Ouma will carry with him a hugely inexperienced squad for the tourney.
The tactician will be without Ruth Ingotsi, Annete Kundu and Corazone Aquino who have all been left out to concentrate on cementing their places in their new clubs while Cynthia Shilwatso is working to complete her move to Spain.
In their absence, Ouma will look on to the experience of skipper Dorcas Shikobe, Mwanahalima Adam, Sheryl Angachi and Mercy Airo to spearhead the side in their quest to impress on the international scene.
“I think it is going to be a very good opportunity for us to face stronger countries to give us more experience and to help the players grow. We have many new players in the team and this will be their chance to learn what it means to play for the national team.
“We played three friendly matches against boys’ teams over the weekend and though we didn’t win any, the matches have given us a picture of where we are and what we need to improve on. I think we are better heading to Turkey,” Ouma stated.
In his final travelling squad, Ouma has included 17-year old Jane Njeri who has starred for Nyahururu based side Falling Waters during the last two editions of the Chapa Dimba na Safaricom tournament as well as Acakoro’s Sylvia Makhungu who he scouted during the Nairobi region finals.
Ouma is however worried with the fitness levels of the girls, though he said they have worked hard to ensure they get to shape over the past one week of training.
“The league is set to start next week and most of the players had not picked much physically and this has been like their pre-season. But we will have to learn on the job and work hard during the tournament,” Ouma continued.
Starlets will take on Northern Ireland on Wednesday before a stern test against Chile on Saturday and finally conclude with a match against Uzbekistan on Tuesday next week.
Hungary, Venezuela, Hong Kong, Romania, and Turkmenistan are also expected to make an appearance at the tournament.
Harambee Starlets Final Squad:
Goalkeepers; Judith Osimbo (Gaspo Youth), Monica Odato (Wadadia), Stella Anolo (Zetech Sparks)
Defenders; Vivian Nasaka (Vihiga Queens), Lucy Akoth (Mathare United), Nelly Sawe (Thika Queens), Foscah Nashivanda(Zetech Sparks), Dorcas Shikobe (Oserian), Dorcas Shiveka (Eldoret Falcons), Lydia Akoth (Thika Queens)
Midfielders: Silvia Makhungu (Kariobangi North), Sheryl Angach (Gaspo), Jentrix Shikangwa (Wiyeta Girls), Janet Bundi (Eldoret Falcons), Rachael Muema (Thika Queens), Mercy Airo (Kisumu All Starlets), Topistar Situma (Vihiga Queens)
Forwards; Mwanalima Adam (Thika Queens), Stella Anyango (Nakuru All-Stars), Purity Anyetu (Zetech Sparks), Jane Njeri (Falling Waters)