NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 15 – Midfielders Corazon Aquino and Christine Nafula were in a class of their own each scoring a hat-trick as national women’s football team Harambee Starlets demolished Zanzibar 11-0 in Jinja, Uganda on Thursday to finish top of Group A with a perfect record.
Esse Akida came off the bench to also get her name on the score-sheet, hitting the back of the net twice as she stormed to the apex of the top scorers’ chart with five goals so far.
With qualification to the semi finals already guaranteed, head coach David Ouma chose to alter his squad to give those yet to taste a piece of CECAFA action some game time and opportunity to prove themselves.
Goalkeeper Vivian Akinyi was rested for Samantha Akinyi while Akida, Neddy Atieno and Mary Kinuthia all started from the bench, same as deputy captain Ann Aluoch, Cherish Avillia and Carolyne Anyango.
Nafula opened the scores just after 12 minutes with a simple tap in from a Mercy Achieng ball as the Starlets started off with so much comfort and ease.
Zanzibar, who shipped in 10 goals against Burundi in their opening game were struggling to get any chances on the Kenyan end but they eventually got one in the 25th minute through Ali Mtumwa’s freekick which went wide.
Nafula made it 2-0 for the Kenyans with a left footed shot from range in the 32nd minute before Jacky Ogol scored the third at the stroke of half time.
The girls continued from where they left in the first half with Mercy Achieng making it 4-0 three minutes after the restart.
On the hour mark, Ouma brought on her attacking trio of Akida, Neddy and Kinuthia and the punch brought on by the three bore fruit in the 68th minute after good combination saw Nafula complete her hat-trick.
Two minutes later, Ogol made it two for herself and six for the team from the penalty spot before Akida got on the score-sheet 10 minutes after her introduction with a simple tap in moments before completing her brace.
Aquino scored two goals in quick succession at the dying minutes, completing her brace and a brilliant job by the African Cup of Nations bound Starlets.
They will face the second team from Group B in the semi finals on Saturday. Ethiopia currently top the group with three points, same as Tanzania.
The two sides will face off in the final group match on Friday to determine who finishes top.
The two teams picked identical 3-2 wins over Rwanda in their opening matches of the tournament.
-Additional material courtesy Kawowo Sports-