Kenya’s Harambee Starlets face Cameroon
African women’s football juggernauts Cameroon today play host to Kenya national soccer team Harambee Starlets at the Stade Reunification in Douala with all at stakes in the first round of the 2024 CAF Women’s Cup of Nations Qualifiers.
The 9PM kick off match (Kenyan time) will mark a fifth meeting between the two sides, with Kenya in hot pursuit of a first ever win against their West African opponents, having lost the previous four encounters.
Starlets coach Beldine Odemba has been full of optimism that the girls have what it takes to reach the Promised Land, hoping for a magnificent introduction to the international realm, this being her premier national team assignment.
“We are here on a mission, we will push ourselves and Cameroon will know our true colors”, Odemba said in a press conference.
Harambee Starlets will return to international football for the first time in nearly two years following Kenya’s 2021 FIFA suspension that had locked them out and shuttered their dreams of reaching the 2022 African Women’s Cup of Nations in Morocco.
Indomitable Lionesses are ranked 3rd in Africa and coach Jean Baptiste Bisseck was brief in his pre-match press conference yesterday, noting the threat that Kenya pose ahead of the crunch tie today under the lights.
“The players are in good spirits and are working hard,” he said. “We are focusing on getting the team ready for the match against Kenya. We know it will be a tough match, but we are confident that we can win.
“Kenya is a good team,” he said. “They are well-organized and have some talented players. We want to remain focused until the last minute of the game to ensure we get maximum points”, he added.
In the last encounter between the two sides, Cameroon emerged victorious at the Kasarani Stadium in October 2016, winning 1-0 curtesy of a 64th minute penalty. They trounced Starlets 2-1 in Yaoundé in November 2016.
Striker Esse Akida, utility player Corazone Aquino and defender Janet Moraa were part of the two friendly matches and are they the only players from that squad that are in Cameroon for today’s national duty.
In 2006, Cameroon defeated on aggregate to book their ticket for that year’s edition of the Women’s Cup of Nations that was staged in Nigeria.