Hammamet — The national women’s team, the Harambee Sand Starlets will represent Africa at the World Beach Games in Bali, Indonesia in August, after earning a direct ticket from the African Games.
Starlets were handed a walkover against their only opponents at the Africa Beach Games, Cape Verde after they pulled out in the 11th hour.
The Kenyan team had already arrived in Hammamet, Tunisia, the venue of the African Games, by the time the Cape Verde side had announced they would not be playing. This left Kenya as the only team in the Championship.
A letter from the World Beach Soccer Competitions Department to the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) confirmed that Kenya will fly Africa’s flag in Bali.
The team has now chosen to use the time in Hammamet to step up their training, with a new focus of playing against the best in the world.
Head coach Fathimi Hamisi says she is delighted that the team has earned a ticket to the World Championships for the first time ever, and says they will immediately embark on good preparation, with under a month before the games which kick off on August 2.
“We had been training in Malindi for the last 10 days and we were very well prepared for this competition. We had come ready to show that we are a good team as well. We have a walkover but for us, we were ready to play and show our abilities,” said the tactician.
She added; “Of course we are really delighted to have qualified for the World Beach Games because this is a massive opportunity. We will not rest and immediately, we are going back to training and ensure that we have a very strong team.”
The team of 10 arrived in Hammamet on Tuesday afternoon and held their first training session early Wednesday morning.
The tactician says they will look to strengthen the team in areas of attack and will look for a few additions back home.
Meanwhile, captain Terry Ouko, a former captain of the Harambee Starlets says the team is delighted to be playing at the World Games.
“We have a very good team with some players who were at the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in 2016 and that means it is an experienced side. We are delighted to be playing at the World Games and we have to prepare well. It will be a good opportunity for us,” noted the skipper.
-Timothy Olobulu is reporting from Hammamet, Tunisia.