Harambee Starlets confident of going past Ghana
Harambee Starlets assistant coach Jackline Juma believes the team will go past Ghana into the fourth round if they maintain tactical discipline in their 2020 Tokyo Olympics Qualifiers scheduled for October 4 and 8 in Accra and Kasarani respectively.
The team hit camp on Sunday where they are expected to stay for 11 days ahead of their departure to Ghana set for October 2.
The technical bench is expected to trim the squad to 20 at the end of the week.
“We have a relatively young squad and their display in the last three matches, against Malawi in the second round and in the friendly against Ethiopia, has been encouraging. We are facing a high ranked team but that is not putting us down.
“We first played Ghana at the 2016 Africa Cup of Nations (AWCON) competitions and lost 3-1.
In November last year in a build-up match for the 2018 AWCON, the encounter ended in a one-all draw and that means we are getting better as a team and Ghana should underrate us at their own peril,” said Juma.
Starlets will miss the services of youngster Martha Amunyolete who has been given time off to concentrate on her Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exam while Sharon Khasandi is held up with college exams.
The squad is enjoying injury-free training, with only two players nursing manageable knocks sustained during the weekend WPL matches.
“We will need to be tactically disciplined in the two encounters. Ghana have good touches and to counter that we will have to defend well and deny them the chance for those accurate touches.
While we cannot rule out an away win, we will look to pick away goals and make sure we win at home to advance,” said Juma, adding that the unavailable players will be missed but the squad had able replacements.
On her part, shot stopper Annette Kundu, who made her debut for the national team in the friendly match against Ghana last year, says her experience against the Black Queens will go a long way in ensuring Starlets pick at least a draw in Accra.
“We are meeting them (Ghana) in a competition as opposed to a friendly match and they will come hard at us but I have prepared for that. The current squad understands me and that has made it easy to arrange the defence.
We will try our best not to concede early away as it puts a lot of pressure on the squad when we are chasing the game,” said Kundu.