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Kenya Lionesses eye slot in Tokyo Olympics

The Kenya Lionesses celebrate after winning the Africa Women’s 7s title in Gaborone, Botswana on May 27, 2018. PHOTO/KRU

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 4 – Despite the return of South Africa to the qualifiers for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, the Kenya Lionesses say their focus still remains to grab the lone ticket to represent Africa in the quadrennial games.

The Lionesses earned a slot to the Rio Olympics in 2016 after the Lady Blitzboks pulled out and they will look to ensure a return this time when the qualifiers kick off in Tunisia on October 13.

Skipper Philadelphia Olando has issued the war-cry ahead of the tournament which will also double up as the Africa Women’s Sevens Championship which Kenya won last year.

“Our target is South Africa. We’ve played them couple of times since 2015 and this time round we’ll give everything. We must qualify,” Olando said on Friday morning.

The team that heads out to Tunisia was picked today with head coach Felix Oloo retaining a huge chunk of the players who have been doing duty for the sevens team, most of who were also part of the 15s squad that played in the recently concluded African Championship.

“We’ve picked a strong team. Strong character and players who have that sacrificial energy. We know the importance of winning this tournament,” said the tactician.

The Lionesses are top seeds in Pool A where they’ll meet Senegal, Ghana and Botswana on day one. Neighbours and last year’s runners up Uganda top Pool B alongside South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia while Pool C comprises of hosts Tunisia, Morocco, Mauritius and Madagascar.

The Lionesses will kick off their campaign against Ghana at 12:50pm EAT on Saturday 12th October, at 3:26pm they’ll take on Botswana before wrapping up their day one campaign at 6:00pm against Senegal.

Kenya Lionesses squad

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Sheila Chajira, Cynthia Camilla, Leah Wambui, Janet Owino (Homeboyz), Janet Okello, Celestine Masinde (Mwamba), Grace Adhiambo, Vivian Akumu (Nakuru), Diana Awino, Christabel Lindo, Stella Wafula (Impala Saracens), Philadelphia Olando(Northern Suburbs).

Courtesy of KRU, Raga House.

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