Kenya’s women Under-20 coach Caroline Achieng has trained her sights on the Fifa Under-20 World Cup set for August next year in France.
This follows the team’s terrific start in the preliminary round of qualifiers on Friday where they thrashed Botswana 7-1 at the Lobatse Sports Complex in Gaborone.
With that result, the women’s junior team sent out a strong statement of intent, and Achieng believes they have what it takes to grace the global showpiece for the first time in the country’s history.
“We want to go to the World Cup,” she said.
“We played very well. The girls played according to instructions and it is that team work that helped us win.”
Second half substitute Marjolene Nekesa was the toast of the match, as she scored twice in three minutes in the second half to spark a flood of goals from the Kenyan side.
Wiyeta Girls’ midfielder Martha Amunyolete also managed a brace in the match, as Diana Wacera, Cynthia Musungu and captain Vivian Corazone scored a goal apiece in the emphatic win.
FLEW OUT QUIETLY
Botswana’s only form of response came at the stroke of half-time through striker Vusang Atang, but this proved to be a consolation in the end.
The women’s junior team is expected home this evening to prepare for the return leg match set for August 4 this year.
Barring a calamity, the Kenyan girls are expected to advance to the first round of qualifiers where they will meet Ethiopia in September.
The Kenyan delegation had quietly flown out of Nairobi on Wednesday for the fixture, with no word to the media or Kenyan public for that matter.
Football Kenya Federation officials repeatedly declined to issue contacts of the team officials in Lobatse, saying they were “protecting the team from unnecessary pressure”.
The Starlets junior team was formed early this year from a pool of young girls who had excelled in the national secondary school games, and were joined by Soccer Queens striker Corazone Aquino and Thika Queens defender Wincate Kaari who have previously featured for the senior national team.
The squad had camped at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos for 10 days before their Wednesday departure to Botswana, and they are scheduled to represent Kenya in a tournament in The Kingdom of Jordan this September.
Kenya and Botswana are among 19 nations gunning for one of the three slots available for Africa in next year’s World Cup in France.
Harambee Starlets record emphatic 7-1 win over the hosts.