19 July 2018

Kenya/Uganda: Harambee Starlets Fall to Crested Cranes in Cecafa Opener

Kenya on Thursday suffered a surprise solitary goal loss to Uganda in the opening game of the Cecafa Women Championship at the Nyamirambo Stadium in Kigali, Rwanda.

The Harambee Starlets were undone by a goal from Crested Cranes forward Lilian Mutunzo after six minutes.

Despite fielding a star-studded cast consisting of attackers Mwanahalima Adam, Cynthia Shilwatsa, Essie Akida and later on Neddy Atieno, David Ouma's charges battled hard but failed to find the match needed equaliser.

This outcome means the Ugandans have finally exacted revenge on the Kenyan team which has dominated over them for the past three years.

In that period, Kenya triumphed 4-0 against their western neighbours in the last edition of the Cecafa Women Championship in Jinja two years ago, and then again 1-0 on aggregate in the 2018 Africa Nations Cup qualifiers earlier this year.

Worryingly though, the loss to Uganda highlights a disappointing set of results for Harambee Starlets since the team attained qualification to the 2016 Africa Women Cup of Nations Championship in Cameroon after defeating Algeria.

In June for example, not even the return of Ouma after almost a year in the cold could help the team redeem its past heroics, as they suffered an aggregate loss to Equatorial Guinea, a result that all but tarnished the team's hopes of qualifying for the 2018 Women Africa Cup of Nations set for Ghana in November.

At the same time, hosts Rwanda were primed to face Tanzania in the other match of the day in this five-team tournament, which also involves Ethiopia. This tournament is funded by world governing body Fifa, which aims to promote women football in the region.

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