Alumira backs Starlets to bag AWCON ticket
The new appointed Harambee Starlets head coach Alex Alumirah has backed the squad he named on Tuesday to earn qualification for the 2022 African Women Cup of Nations (AWCON) Finals.
Alumira named a provisional squad of 36 players for the crunch African Women's Cup of Nations match against Uganda next month.
The first of the two-legged qualifier between the perennial rivals is set for February 17 with the reverse fixture slated for Nyayo Stadium, Nairobi where the aggregate winner will earn automatic qualification for the continental showpiece in Morocco, later this year.
The former Vihiga Queens tactician maintained the bulk of the players that served under Charles Okere.
Greek-based striker Esse Akida and goalkeeper Samantha Akinyi who worked with Alumira during his short stint with Tanzania side Tigers has been recalled to the squad.
Akida and Akinyi who were both part of the team that helped Kenya qualify for its first ever Cup of Nations in 2016 were thrown in the cold over the past three years, but have now returned.
Of the five goalkeepers called up, only Pauline Kathure of Gaspo is based in the domestic Kenyan leagues.
Cynthia Shilwatso who plies her trade in Spain also earned a call up together with US-based Marjolene Nekesa and Wadadia’s Cindy Ngaira.
Vihiga Queens make up the biggest numbers in the squad having contributed seven players, while Thika and Ulinzi have five each.
Given the mantle of heading the senor team, the coach says the new responsibility will not tamper with his job back in Tanzania as his contract is very clear.
“When signing Tigers FC contract in September last year I told them that incase I am called upon for the National team duties then they should release me and that was among the contract I signed.
“For now, my team is doing well in the Tanzania Women premier league under the assistant coaches and I will join them once I am done with the National team duties,” Alumirah added.
The Starlets began their AWCON journey by humiliating minnows South Sudan 15-1 on aggregate but Uganda will be a bigger test.