Nairobi — National women's Under-20 football team, the Rising Starlets, departed Nairobi for Yaounde Thursday morning, ahead of their third round 2024 FIFA World Cup qualifier first leg duel against Cameroon on Saturday.
Starlets progressed to the third qualification round after edging out Angola 10-1 on aggregate, and they now want to follow in the footsteps of the senior team, who beat the Cameroonian side on penalties in the Women's Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
Head coach Beldine Odemba says the team has prepared well and is ready for the duel, as they seek a first ever qualification to the World Cup.
"We are going to give a good show in Cameroon and we want to get a win to move into the next round. We will give Cameroon a run for their money and the ambition is to get a good result away from home," said coach Odemba.
She added; "We have prepared well and the team is ready. Though we have not had many days to train, we have worked hard with the time we had to ensure that the team has gelled and is ready to go."
The tactician will face the challenge of missing up to eight players, who will be away as they sit for their Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exams.
Two starters from the team that played against Angola; Mollyne Akinyi and Jane Hato will miss the trip.
But, the tactician will still remain with a good chunk of the squad that dazzled the Angolans and coach Odemba says the team will still be as strong.
"Yes the absence is felt, but not as much. We have brought in replacements because we had a lot of talent even from our initial squad. The biggest job has been gelling them into the team because they are really talented and understand our tactical approaches and how we want them to play," said Odemba.
The tactician has also admitted that the team is falling victim of their own success, as the expectation on them has risen after their Angola performance.
But, Odemba notes they will not fall under pressure but will instead go on to give their best.
"Sometimes it is hectic if you come from a win. The supporters, your own self and tour ambitions always push you to go and win. But for us, every time we step onto that pitch we are always going to win and we are hoping for good results," noted Odemba.
They will come up against a tough Cameroon side, the Central Africans having muscled out Botswana 6-1 on aggregate.
The first leg of the encounter will be played at the Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo in Yaounde, Saturday at 7pm.
Scovia Awuor, Christine Omolo, Ivonne Minage.
Rebecca Kwoba, Rachel Adhiambo, Dorcas Glender, Judith Nandwa, Ruth Akinyi, Ann Brenda Ochieng, Tabitha Amoit, Redempter Mercy, Sharon Vidah Okeyo.
Clotilda Auma, Elizabeth Muteshi, Hellen Mito, Sunira Manda Were
Valerie Leah Nekesa, Charity Midewa, Anna Nabwire Arusi, Elizabeth Mideva, Sharlyne Opisa, Fasila Odhiambo, Emilly Okute