NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 20 – The national women’s football team Harambee Starlets is still dusting itself from an alleged sex scandal that has caused a storm in the team, already claiming one casualty, with goalkeeper trainer Lawrence Webo being asked to step aside.
Team Manager Doreen Nabwire, a former Kenyan international says she has been greatly disturbed by the allegations and admits it has affected the team’s psychology and morale as they gear up for an invitational tournament in Spain from July 31.
“First of all, talk is cheap and yes, it has affected the team, myself and the office. But these are just challenges. Wherever there’s a good thing, there’s a blow to try and mess things up. Whether the allegations are true or false we will just try to focus,” Nabwire told Capital Sport after the team’s first session at the Kasarani Stadium on Tuesday.
Webo was asked to step aside by the federation as it launched investigation into allegations that some members of the technical bench ‘solicit for sex’ from players in return of getting spots in the team.
FKF President Nick Mwendwa said the federation has launched an immediate in-house investigation to ascertain the truth of the matter and will come up with a solution soon.
“The picture it paints even for me as an individual is negative. It is not good at all. We will leave this to the federation to come out with a decision,” Nabwire added.
The girls though looked in high spirits but all were tight lipped on whether the allegations are true or false.
“It hasn’t happened to me, neither have I heard of it. But if it has happened to someone else, then it can be very unfortunate,” one of the team members who sought anonymity confided to Capital Sport.
The team is set to have double sessions as they gear up for the Spain tournament with head coach David Ouma having brought in five new players to boost the squad.
Former under-20 captain Terry Ouko has been recalled into the team after splendid performances with Spedag in the Women’s Premier League.
Also joining in is right-back Margaret Nyambura and midfielder Purity Nyongesa from Soccer Sisters, Maureen Ater from Vihiga Queens and goalkeeper Jane Achila from Oserian.
“I am impressed with the physical levels of the players and this has been made possible because of their participation in the league. It has also become easier for me to go round and look for players because there are more matches involving the women,” head coach Ouma said.
After the Spain trip, the team will be turning their eyes to the CECAFA Women’s Cup which will be held in Uganda in October.
The team is also working on the logistics of a week-long training camp in Germany where they will play a series of friendly matches with women Bundesliga sides.