NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 6- Harambee Starlets forward Esse Mbeyu Akida has not travelled with the team to Uganda for their African Women’s Cup of Nations Qualifier first round return leg tie due to school commitment.
Akida, who returned from injury to play 60 minutes of the first leg in Machakos on Wednesday, opted not to travel to concentrate on her exams on Monday at the Kenya Methodist University in Meru.
“It would have not been practical for me to travel to Uganda and come back fresh for the exams so I didn’t have much of a choice. But despite my absence, I know that the team is capable and they will bring back good results,” Akida told Capital Sport.
The forward has been Starlets’ best pick upfront alongside the duo of Neddy Atieno and Mwanahalima Adam and in her absence, head coach David Ouma will need to devise a new attacking plan to win the tie.
Kenya carries with them a slim 1-0 advantage from the first leg on Wednesday and heading into the return tie, a draw of any kind will be enough to sail them through though Ouma said he will be going for an outright win.
“For now I will play my cards close to my chest because the return tie is coming in very soon. But we have to weigh the situation especially in attack where we need to come out better. I am confident that we can go there and win,” the coach said.
The team will be playing the match at the Lugogo Artificial Turf Arena and despite having little time to train on a similar surface, Ouma is confident he has a squad that can quickly adjust and play well.
“I am not worried about that because it is not hard for these girls to adjust. Most of them play their league matches on similar surfaces so it won’t be anything new for us,” he noted.
Just as Kenya is, Uganda’s Crested Cranes are confident they can overturn the result and progress to the second round of qualification. The winner of the tie on Sunday earns a ticket for the ultimate qualification round match against Equatorial Guinea in June.
Goalkeepers; Poline Atieno, Brenda Achieng, Maureen Shimuli.
Defenders; Wendy Achieng, Dorcas Shikobe, Dorris Anyango, Elizabeth Ambogo, Lilian Adera.
Midfielders; Cheris Avilia, Carolyne Kiget, Sheryl Angachi, Corazone Aquino, Carolyne Anyango, Pauline Musungu.
Forwards; Mwanahalima Adam, Juliet Auma, Mercy Achieng, Phoebe Owiti, Neddy Atieno, Cynthia Shilwatso.