Cash-strapped Starlets hold Ghana at Kasarani

Wednesday November 07 2018

Ghana's Priscilla Olgere (left) vies for the ball with Harambee Starlets midfielder Corazone Aquino during their international friendly match on November 7, 2018 at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |


The national women football team Wednesday evening put their financial woes aside, and laboured to pick a one-all draw against Africa Women's Cup of Nations hosts Ghana in an exciting international friendly match at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.

Immediately after the match, Kenya coach David Ouma publicly pleaded with President Uhuru Kenyatta to bail out the cash-strapped Harambee Starlets to enable them travel and compete at the Awcon in Ghana between November 17 and December 1.

Starlets are currently stranded and may not travel for this continental championship as they lack most of the basics included return air tickets and allowances.

On the pitch, Mercy Achieng's 14th minute strike gave the hosts an early lead even as it rattled the speedy and physically stronger West Africans, who were unlucky to trail at the break.

Enroute to planting the ball into the net, the Thika Queens forward took full advantage of an inviting cross by the lively Mwanahalima Adam from the right hand side of the pitch.

She thereafter conrolled the ball with her left foot and as Gladys Amfobea and Juliet Acheampong struggled to close her down, slotted home from point blank from the outside of her right foot, leaving custodian Patricia Mantey with no chance.


"This Kenyan team is one of the most improved teams on the continent and that is why we came here to face them," Ghana coach Basir Haytord said of his opponents.

The dangerous Linda Eshun equalised for the visitors with 13 minutes to time with a cleverly worked out free kick which involved Portia Boalcey.

Boalcey also hit the woodwork with the final kick of the game as Kenya survived at the death.

Buoyed by free entrance granted by Football Kenya Federation, an estimated 5,000 crowd, including Ambassador Yvonne Khamati, FKF vice president Doris Petra and Harambee Stars coach Sebastian Migne, thronged the 60,000-seater facility to watch the match.

"It was good we scored first. We allowed them more into the game and conceded from the set piece. I will try and fix those areas in the remaining games before we head to the championship," Ouma said.

And the supporters were thoroughly entertained in this clash, which serves as a build up for both teams ahead of the continental showpiece.

"We will try and lobby to help these girls, they have so much talent and firepower and they atleast deserve to play in Ghana," said Khamati.

Kenya, who qualified after Equatorial Guinea were disqualified for fielding an ineligible player following an appeal by Football Kenya Federation, is pooled in a tough Group B alongside South Africa, Nigeria and Zambia.

Ghana will face Mali, Algeria and Cameroon in Group A.