NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 29 – National women football team Harambee Starlets kicked off training in Nairobi on Monday afternoon ahead of next month’s African Women’s Cup of Nations (AWCON) in Ghana.
Head coach David Ouma had a squad of 15 players in training with most of the other players yet to arrive in camp after the weekend Premier League matches. However, all should be in by Tuesday morning before the team starts intense training.
“We have just started some light training as we assess the players to know who is fit and who is not. We are expecting the rest by tonight so from tomorrow, we will step up the training as we prepare for Ghana,” Ouma said as the team went through their paces at the Utalii Sports Club.
United States of America based striker Marjolene Nekesa will however be unavailable for selection as her club has declined to release her, saying they have their Conference finals coming up and need the striker with them.
Meanwhile, fellow forward Esse Akida should be joining the team by next week with the Football Kenya Federation having already sent a request letter to her Israeli club Ramat Hasharon.
Meanwhile, skipper Wendy Achieng believes that despite the short period of training the team has, they will still be able to prepare well and be ready for AWCON.
Starlets were informed of their participation in the Cup of Nations 13 days ago after FKF’s appeal over Equatorial Guinea’s use of ineligible players went through.
“It’s a short period yes, but we are ready. We have been training with our clubs and our fitness levels are okay. It’s just about firming up small tactical issues and we will be okay. We will be ready to perform better than we did in 2016,” Achieng noted.
Starlets are scheduled to play against a Women’s Premier League select team in a friendly match on Wednesday at Utalii while a date is yet to be confirmed for the game against Uganda.
The team will leave early for Ghana where they will play a friendly against the hosts before they start their campaign on November 18.
Starlets are pooled in Group B alongside defending champions Nigeria, South Africa and Zambia against whom they will start their campaign.