The Kenya national under-20 women football team Rising Starlets was well beaten by their Ugandan counterparts the Crested Cranes in the first leg of the second round of the FIFA 2022 under-20 Women’s World Cup qualifiers at the Nyayo National Stadium.
The Kenyan queens under the tutelage of Charles Okere getting a 7-2 beating by Uganda who had Juliet Nakulenge and Sumaya Koumuntale to thank for their braces as Shalyene Opisa’s double only served as a consolation for the hosts.
Our girls lost, yes, leaving them with a mountain to climb as they seek to overturn the result in the return leg on October 8 in Kampala, Uganda.
But in my view, we should not blame them for their Performance against Uganda U-20 they did their best and this is why:
(1). There was last minute rush for the players who had been called up to join the camp since most of them are from schools and grassroots teams.
(2). The team was on the camp for only four days unlike Uganda who were in the camp for about four weeks and had enough time to prepare.
(3). Our Rising Starlets did not get enough time to play friendly matches to help the coach in coming with a proper squad, unlike Uganda who engaged in some friendlies. Coach Okere admitted to have issues with squad selection. Had they played even a single friendly game, things would have been better.
(4). A good number of those girls (who were making their debut) were over excited playing for the national team since it is a rare opportunity.
As Kenyans we should desist from politicking about everything and anything. The team was picked from across the country (from schools and grassroots teams) as opposed to the claims of the selection being from teams based in Nairobi.
We should instead get behind our girls and cheer them and for sure Uganda will have it rough in the second leg.
The writer, Mjumbe Atenya, is a trained journalist, passionate about women football in Kenya