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Starlets’ second Cup of Nations hopes dashed

Harambee Starlets players line up before their African Women’s Cup of Nations qualifier against Equatorial Guinea at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on June 6, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

NAIROBI, Kenya, June 9 – Harambee Starlets’ hopes of qualifying for a second consecutive Africa Women’s Cup of Nations (AWCON) were dashed after the Kenyan team lost 2-0 away to Equatorial Guinea in the return leg hosted in Malabo.

Starlets had put themselves on an advantage point after having a slim lead thanks to their 2-1 win in the first leg played at the Kenyatta Stadium in Kenya on Wednesday.

Kenya will now hope the appeal they filed against Equatorial Guinea falls on their favour for them to head to Ghana for a back-to-back participation in the largest competition in Africa when this year’s edition will be held in November.

Football Kenya Federation (FKF) filed a case to the continental football body CAF against Equatorial Guinea for fielding ineligible players during their 2018 AWCON qualification first leg second round clash staged at the Kenyatta Stadium.

In a letter addressed to the continental body, FKF claims the visiting team fielding two ineligible players in Celestine Basecu and Annette Msomo both who are Cameroonians with another player in Luz Obono having not been registered for the match.

Should the team be found guilty of the said allegations, stiff punishment might follow from the continental body after the team was expelled from the 2019 World Cup qualification process for fielding 10 ineligible players.

As well as missing the 2019 Women’s World Cup and the following year’s Olympic Games qualifiers, Equatorial Guinea were due to be banned from the next two Women’s Africa Cup of Nations in 2018 and 2020 but the ban was lifted at a CAF emergency committee meeting in Morocco late last year.

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