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Kenya beats Uganda as the hosts suffer a huge loss at the hands of the Starlets at the ongoing CECAFA Women’s Championship

CECAFA hosts, Uganda Crested Cranes may have succeeded in earning a spot in the world FIFA rankings, but they were no match for Kenya’s Harambee Starlets.

Dropping to 132nd from 129th, the first-time FIFA ranked hosts were beaten 4-0 in the first edition of the CECAFA Women Championship. The tournament kicked off on Sunday in Jinja, in the eastern part of Uganda.

Captain Mary Kinuthia opened the score line finishing off a delightful cross from forward Neddy Okoth Atieno, just before halftime. But it’s the combination of Kinuthia, Esse Akida and Vivian Corazon that presented more troubles for the hosts.

Despite any attempts to try and break the attacking force of Kenya, Akida registered a second goal followed 26 minutes later by Corazon’s goal. Akida later closed the score line with her second of the day to take the tally to four.

 In addition to a superior start, the Starlets saw the return of Doreen Nabwire

“I feel honored to be back wearing the national team jersey not as a Team Manager but as a player. The coach trusted me and told me he believes I can add something to the team in this CECAFA campaign and all the way to the Cup of Nations. I’m delighted that we won today,” Nabwire told Capital Sport.

The former skipper spent most of her career playing professional football in Germany. Nabwire’s last appearance for Kenya was in 2012 when she captained the team to a 5-0 victory over Ethiopia in a friendly match.

Uganda also sought the services of QPR Ladies defender Jean Sseninde and USA-based striker Laki Otandeka but it was Ruth Aturo who stood out. The Ugandan goalkeeper was the best player for her team, preventing all attempts of a stretched lead.

It is not the first encounter between the two sides. Last July, the Cranes lost to Kenya 4-0 in Kisumu in an international friendly. Regardless of the results, this is not a guaranteed ‘white wash’. According to the Cranes head coach Majidah Nantanda, “This is not the end, it is actually the beginning.”

Open to the possibility of a championship, Nantanda further explained, “The Kenyans have more experienced players and as for Uganda, we are just building a team. We do not know who is who, so we are trying to understand the girls so that we can position them.”

However, the Starlets remain tournament favorites but are in no rush to perceive themselves as anything more. Downplaying all claims, Kenya coach David Ouma said, [perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]”So many people have branded us the favorites, but like I said before we left home, our target is to get out of the group, and we are taking it one game at a time.”[/perfectpullquote]


But those same claims may be perceived otherwise by the fact that Kenya became the only CECAFA member to qualify for the African Women Cup of Nations to be held in November in Cameroon.

“This is one way of preparing for the AFCON because we really want to go to Cameroon to compete and the games we shall play here will in a way prepare us,” said Ouma.

In spite of a thrilling start, the Starlets cannot afford to relax as they await Burundi in the next match. They later registered a historic win in their opening match, beating Zanzibar 10-1.

“We look forward to the second match, we know it is going to be tough but our aim remains to come out top in this tournament,” Nabwire said.

The win puts Kenya in second place after Burundi, who lead the table by goal difference. The two teams will meet on Tuesday, 13 to determine who tops the group stages.

Two teams in each group will qualify for the semifinals to be played on Sept. 18 whereas the final and third place play off will be in Sept. 20

Group A: Uganda, Kenya, Burundi and Zanzibar

Group B: Ethiopia, Tanzania and Rwanda 

Featured Photo: kenya’s Esse Akida puts the ball past advancing Uganda’s Ruth Aturo in the ongoing CECAFA Women Championship in Jinja, Uganda. (KAWOWO SPORTS / Aminah Babirye)

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