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Starlets eye huge home win as they tackle Zambia in penultimate round of 2020 Olympics qualifiers

By Lynette Matheka
Friday, November 8th, 2019

Women’s national football team Harambee Starlets host Zambia’s Shepolopolo in the penultimate round of the CAF Olympics qualifiers at Kasarani Stadium at 4pm today as they seek their maiden ticket to the games.

Coach David Ouma has exuded confidence in his squad ahead of the first leg match against the higher ranked Zambia. The tactician has stuck with a majority of the players who did duty in round three against Ghana with Kibera Girls’ Sylvia Lumasia the only new face in the final squad of 20.

The team has not had adequate time to prepare given they hit camp last week and it was not full house until after the weekend. However, Ouma, who has previously insisted on having the team in camp for two weeks to concentrate on tactical and mental training aspects of the game maintains they are ready.

“Normally, we concentrate on the technical and tactical aspects of training in the first week and then tackle mental preparedness when the match nears. I have had to adjust and run the two concurrently. We have concentrated on the tactical aspects, especially improving on our previous performances,” said Ouma. 

He added: “This is the same squad I have had for these qualifiers and they know what is expected of them in terms of mental preparedness for any match. We also agreed, as the technical bench, not to put them under pressure and their confidence is good so far. Composure will play a big role in the home match too.” 

The tactician has heaped praise on debutant Lumasia, who can play as a winger, centre forward or defender, is able to use both feet and has good interpersonal skills with the other players.

“She has been impressive so far and will bring the much-needed versatility in the squad. Making the final list in her first call up shows just how good and competitive she is. She is up for selection today as are all the others in camp,” said Ouma, adding that the team is looking to capitalise on home advantage ahead of the away match.

Starlets have played Shepolopolo twice in the recent past and posted mixed results. Their first encounter was in a COSAFA tournament in 2017 where they were the guests team, the match ending in a one all draw, before Zambia won 4-2 on post-match penalties. 

In 2018, Starlets thrashed their hosts Shepolopolo 3-0 in a friendly match played at the Arthur Davies Stadium in Kitwe. Seven of the current players were in the squad that faced Zambia in 2018, then under the tutelage of Richard Kanyi.