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Olympic dream alive, say Harambee Starlets

Harambee Starlets players line up before their Olympic qualification match against Ghana at the Kasarani Stadium on October 8, 2019. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 9 – Victory over Ghana’s Black Queens has given Harambee Starlets hope of a first ever qualification to the Olympic Games, with only two teams now standing between them and a historic place in Tokyo 2020.

Starlets beat the Ghanaians 1-0 via a Gentrix Shikangwa extra time penalty to progress to the penultimate qualification round where a tie against Zambia awaits.

With giants Nigeria, South Africa and now Ghana ousted from the race to represent Africa in Rio, Starlets believe they have an opportunity to progress.

“We really wanted to beat Ghana to qualify and now that we have, I don’t think there is any other team that we fear. I believe as a team we have what it takes to beat anyone and our confidence is now at an all time high. We are focused on the Olympics and we will work hard to achieve it,” a confident Shikangwa told Capital Sport.

She added; “We don’t fear anyone. If we can beat Ghana, then we are confident of beating anyone. Our secret has been training hard and ensuring we do everything the correct way.”

Skipper Dorcas Shikobe has meanwhile asker her teammates not to let their guards down and keep working hard to ensure they achieve history.

“Everyone has a chance and we also have a chance. This is behind our backs now and we have to focus on the next assignment. We have the ability, we are working together as ateam and everyone wants the same thing,” the skipper stated.

Victory over Starlets against Zambia will put them into a good position of qualifying to the Olympics. They will face the winner between Ivory Coast and Cameroon in the final. Winning the final gives them a direct ticket to Tokyo.

A loss will mean they head into the repacharge where they face off with the losing team from the South American qualifiers.

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“We are bridging the gap between Kenya and the rest of the continent and we are showing the world that we are growing. What we have invested in terms of scouting for talent is clearly visible. We will continue working, continue fighting because the work is not yet finished. We still have a long way to go,” head coach David Ouma stated.

Meanwhile, the team has called on the government to give them support in their quest to qualify for the Olympics. The team did not receive any financial backing from the government for the current qualifiers while they are owed allowances dating back to 2017.

“The federation is doing what it can but the government has to come in and support the girls. We are now close to history and we need all the support we can,” the tactician offered.

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