Rising Starlets face Uphill task

Monday, September 27th, 2021 00:00 |
Rising Starlets’ Sylvia Makungu (left) takes on Ugandan Bira Nadunga during the FIFA U20 World Cup Qualifiers at Nyayo Stadium on Saturday. Photo/PD/DAVID NDOLO

Kenya national women’s football Under-20 team, Rising Starlets, will now require the great strength of Hercules to overturn their huge defeat to Uganda in the return leg of the second round of the 2022 FIFA Women’s Under-20 World Cup qualifiers.

Starlets made it extremely difficult to advance to the third round of the competition after suffering a huge 7-2 defeat to Uganda in the first leg of the second-round match played on Saturday at the Nyayo National Stadium.

Starlets were hoping to make the homeground advantage count in the first leg but all their hopes went up in smoke as they allowed Uganda to take charge of the game and take a huge advantage going into the return leg in their backyard, two weeks from now.

Charles Okere’s coached side will require a miracle to score six goals and avoid conceding any in Uganda in the return leg slated for October 8 in Kampala to overturn the results and fancy their chances of advancing to the third round.

In Saturday’s match, Starlets were clueless especially in the first half, and from the word go, it was evident that the team lacked match fitness and teamwork as Uganda capitalised on that to punish them severely, finding the back of the net six times, with Starlets not able to respond or even penetrate the Ugandan defense.

Juliet Nalukenge opened the scoring for Uganda only two minutes after kick-off and before could pick the rhythm, Margret Kunihira was at it again, stretching Uganda’s lead to 2-0 in the 17th minutes of the game.

Four minutes later, Fauzia Najjemba made it 3-0 in the 21st minute as the rain of goals started hitting the incoherent Starlets.

It was, however, not yet over for a devasting Ugandan side that looked well oiled, having played together in the  Under-15, Under-17, and now Under-20 with coach Ayub Khalifa who is also the coach of Kawempe Muslim School that produced almost the entire Uganda squad, entrusted with the team, all along as the visitors continued to torment the Kenyan girls.

Impressive Nalukenge grabbed her second goal of the game and Uganda’s fourth in the 28th before Shamirah Naluguya and Sumaiya Komuntale adding a goal apiece to take Uganda to a 6-0 lead at halftime.

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