Kenyan girls take on Ethiopia in World Cup qualifier

By CELLESTINE OLILO
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The national Under-20 team will Saturday afternoon take on their Ethiopian counterparts in the return leg of the 2018 Fifa Under-20 Women’s World Cup qualifier at Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos.

Kenya drew 2-2 with Ethiopia away in the first leg of the match at the Hawassa Stadium a fortnight ago, and they therefore require a 0-0 or 1-1 draw or a win of any kind to progress to the next stage.

If they overcome Ethiopia in Saturday’s clash, they will enter the tournament’s penultimate last qualification stage where they will face wither Algeria or Ghana.

The 18-girl squad has been camping at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani for the last 10 days under the guidance of coaches Caroline Achieng, Ann Aluoch, Jackline Akoth and Musa Otieno.

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“We are ready and adequately prepared for them. We had it rough in the first leg but this time we hope to use home advantage well by scoring early goals and ensuring that we remain ahead throughout the match,” Otieno said.

The Harambee Starlets junior team have enjoyed good run in the course of qualification, as they cruised to a 7-1 victory over Botswana two months ago at the Lobatse Stadium in Botswana in the first round of qualifiers.

The Zebras of Botswana pulled out immediately after this match citing lack of adequate finances, thereby giving Kenya direct entry into this second round.
Starlets will need to be wary of deadly Ethiopian forwards Mirikat Feleke and Alemnesh Geremew who scored early goals in the first leg clash.

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The resolute juniors however had striker Corazon Aquino and 19-year-old Maureen Khakhasi, who turns up for Wiyeta Girls Secondary School, to thank for helping them restore parity in the match.

The match will kick off at 3pm, and Football Kenya Federation has waived entry fees in a bid to encourage spectators to turn up the match in large numbers.

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