Sports

Marjolene, Shikobe rally Starlets ahead of mammoth Botswana trip


NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 2 – Harambee Starlets overall captain Dorcas Shikobe and striker Marjolene Nekesa have rallied their teammates ahead of their trip to Botswana, for a possible destiny-setting duel against The Mares in the final qualification match for next year’s Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON).

Starlets left for Gaborone on Sunday morning, with the tie evenly poised at 1-1 after last Wednesday’s first leg in Nairobi, though Botswana have a slight edge after scoring an away goal.

To overturn the result and book a ticket to their second appearance at the Women’s Cup of Nations, Starlets have to beat the Botswana side or get a highs coring draw away from home.

“Everyone is focused and ready to fight for the country. We have trained well and worked on the small mistakes we had in the first leg and I believe we can do it. We have to go there and fight for our country,” said Shikobe, one of the most experienced players in the team, and Kenya’s on-field captain at the last WAFCON appearance in 2016.

Harambee Starlets overall captain Dorcas Shikobe during training at the Kasarani Annex. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu
Harambee Starlets overall captain Dorcas Shikobe during training at the Kasarani Annex. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

Her sentiments are shared by Czech Republic-based Marjolene Nekesa, the scorer of Kenya’s lone strike in the 1-1 home draw.

“From the game on Wednesday, you can tell tat they (Botswana) are a good side, bit we are a better team. It was just not our day. I am positive we will get good results there. The team is looking good and we have prepared really well since Thursday after the match,” Nekesa stated.

Starlets believe that having the right psychological frame will be key to earn victory in the match and Shikobe says she has talked to her teammates to ensure they are in the right frame of mind.

She says that specifically, the team has moved on from the disappointing end to last Wednesday’s match where they had a chance to win it at the death, but Violet Nanjala missed a late penalty.

“Everyone can miss a penalty and we have moved on from that. Focus is solely on the Wednesday game. We have lifted ourselves in terms of morale and we are focused. I have told them this is our big chance and we have to take it,” stated the skipper.

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Harambee Starlets striker Cynthia Shilwatso and Rebecca Okwaro during training at the Kasarani Annex. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu
Harambee Starlets striker Cynthia Shilwatso and Rebecca Okwaro during training at the Kasarani Annex. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

Meanwhile, Nekesa says the team has channeled the pressure on their shoulders positively and will use it as fuel to push for their bid to qualify.

“When you take pressure positively then it will work for you. I am sure we will get positive results. Qualification will be big for us as a team as well as a nation because it will open more doors for women’s football in Kenya,” she added.

Travelling Squad

Goalkeepers

Annedy Kundu, Caroline Rufa, Lilian Awuor

Defenders

Ruth Ingosi, Phoebe Owiti, Juliet Andibo, Vivian Nasaka, Enez Mango, Ann Lavender, Dorcas Shikobe

Midfielders

Corazone Aquino, Ketsia Ngaira, Lorna Nyarinda, Marjolene Nekesa, Cynthia Shilwatso, Fasila Adhiambo, Sheryl Angachi

Forwards

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Mwanalima Adam, Violet Nanjala, Airine Madalina, Elizabeth Wambui, Janet Bundi, Rebecca Okwaro





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