NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 25 – Heading towards their debut at the African Women’s Cup of Nations (AWCON) in November, Harambee Starlets head coach David Ouma hopes to improve his team’s mental strength to enable them compete well with the top nations.
Ouma, who guided his charges to a 1-0 defeat at home to Cameroon in an international friendly, is satisfied with the progress of the players but concedes there is some fear factor.
“We have to improve our mental strength not to be nervous in big matches. As we go forward, the players have to know they are capable. I know we have the players who are up to task at this stage,” Ouma said.
Starlets are in a tough group B at the AWCON where they will face defending champions Nigeria, Mali and Ghana.
“We played against one of Africa’s best (Cameroon) and these are the kind of matches we have always wanted to play. We created four chances in the first ten minutes but we couldn’t calm nerves to score. We played well because we limited them to score through penalty,” Ouma stated.
Starlets will face Egypt in their penultimate friendly match on Friday at the Kasarani Stadium and Ouma hopes the girls will approach the match with no fear.
“We are a young team and we are headed in the right direction. Against Egypt on Friday I am hoping we can be able to create dominance and use our chances well. The progress so far is very good and I am pleased,” Ouma offered.
The team maintains its target at the AWCON will be getting into the semi-finals and that will mean winning one match and drawing another.
Deputy captain Wendy Achieng is confident the team can achieve the feat based on their massive improvement.
“The way we played against Cameroon, we showed that we can match up big teams in Africa. The target of getting to the semis is very possible and everyone in the team is confident that we can do it. There are a few things we need to improve and definitely we will work towards that,” Achieng, who has been impressive in her position on the left side of defence, noted.