NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 9- Harambee Starlets will face Equatorial Guinea’s Nzalang Nacional in the return leg of their ultimate 2018 African Women’s Cup of Nations Qualifier in Malabo on Saturday evening with head coach David Ouma plotting on a second consecutive appearance at the Cup of Nations.
Starlets carry with them a 2-1 advantage from the first leg in Machakos on Wednesday and will only need to pick any kind of draw in the return encounter to book a ticket to Ghana.
“It is very possible and I believe in my girls. We have worked hard in the other qualification matches and we know what it means to be at the AWCON. We will go there and give our best,” Ouma said as he looked forward to the tie on Saturday.
The tactician has urged his girls to take command of the game from the first minute and ensure they don’t allow the hosts any time on the ball.
“We need to control the tempo of the game, have the ball more and ensure we don’t concede. It was unfortunate in the first leg we conceded from a set piece and this is something we have tried to work on,” Ouma said.
He added; “We should make use of our chances because I know once we score one goal, it will open up the game. We need to get that one goal to calm us down.”
Star striker Esse Akida who scored the second goal in Wednesday’s tie is also confident the team can get the result in Malabo and book a ticket to Ghana and has urged her teammates to give their all in the crucial tie.
“We know we can do it. We have faith in our abilities and all of us should work hard in the return leg tie. We know we are facing a tough team because they have played in the Cup of Nations and won it twice so we should also come being a tough team to beat,” Akida said.
Ouma says the girl’s improvement has been down to improved self belief and a few tactical improvements.
“They have really grown in terms of self belief. They can tackle any opponent without fear and I think that is something very important for us. Also, our tactical build up play has improved because we have trained together for long,” added the coach.
Meanwhile Equatorial Guinea head coach Severino Beseku will be relying on the sole away goal scored in Machakos to give his side the drive in the return leg.
“Kenya is a very tough team and heading back to Malabo, I know it will not be easy. But we will rely on our home fans to give us the push and most important, that one goal we scored will be very vital for us. We need to go and attack and ensure we win the game at home,” the coach further noted.
Harambee Starlets Starting XI
Poline Atieno (GK), Wendy Achieng (C), Lilian Adera, Dorcas Shikobe, Elizabeth Ambogo, Corazone Aquino, Cheris Avilia, Esse Akida, Neddy Atieno, Mwanahalima Adam, Teresa Engesha
Maureen Shimuli, Doris Anyango, Phelistus Kadari, Vivian Nasaka, Faith Kwamboka, Mercy Achieng, Sheryl Angachi