Kenya relishes Tanzania challenge in next Africa Women's Cup of Nations qualifier

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, March 12, 2020
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NAIROBI, March 11 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's national women's team, Harambee Starlets, will now switch their focus to the Africa Women's Cup of Nations (AWCON) qualifiers against Tanzania after finishing third in the Turkish Women's Cup.

The team, which jets back home on Thursday, will hit the camp running as they prepare to take on Tanzania in the first round of the AWCON qualifier in Nairobi on April 6 with the return leg set for a fortnight later on April 14 in Dar es Salaam.

"We arrive home from Alanya city in Turkey with big expectations. We now shift our focus to the AWCON qualifier match against Tanzania in April," said head coach David Ouma on Wednesday.

The Kenyan side will be opening a fresh wound against their neighboring opponents with the two sides having met last year during the CECAFA Senior Challenge Championship in Tanzania. The Harambee Starlets won the title thanks to 2-0 win over the Kilimanjaro Queens.

The winner of the first round two-legged encounter will face the victor from yet another first-round tie pitting the Democratic Republic of Congo against Sao Tome & Principe. The second-round match will be held in June.

"We can match any opponents in the big league right now. We are capable of competing at the highest level and the recognition we were given in Turkey generates interest across the world," Ouma added.

Ouma praised his team for showing up at the Turkish Women's Cup where Kenya finished third behind Chile and Ghana.

The Starlets beat Northern Ireland 2-0 in their opening match before falling to Chile (5-0) and Ghana (3-1), with the coach noting that there are a lot of positives to be taken from the experience.

"I would like to congratulate my players for playing well despite calling them when the Women's Premier League clubs were in pre-season," Ouma said.

"I believe we are now prepared to face Tanzania for the AWCON qualifiers in April from the experience we have attained in this tournament."

The second-round winner will make the final 12 teams for the continent's top women's football competition, which will be held in November with a host yet to be determined.

Congo was awarded the hosting rights in September 2018 but has declined the offer citing financial constraints.

Nigeria has offered to stage the event with the Confederation of African Football (CAF) yet to make its final decision. Enditem

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