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Junior Starlets just 180 minutes away from FIFA World Cup

Monday, May 20th, 2024 02:04 | By
Junior Starlets captain Elizabeth Ochaka (right) celebrates with other members of the team after beating Ethiopia to progress in the World Cup qualifiers. PHOTO/David Ndolo
Junior Starlets captain Elizabeth Ochaka (right) celebrates with other members of the team after beating Ethiopia to progress in the World Cup qualifiers. PHOTO/David Ndolo

The Kenya U-17  Women’s team produced a magical performance yesterday at the Ulinzi Sports Complex as they destroyed Ethiopia 3-0 in front of a charged crowd to edge closer to a maiden World Cup qualification this year.

The Junior Starlets under the guidance of coach Mildred Cheche controlled the proceedings at home and after several attempts on the visitors’ goal, captain Elizabeth Ochaka netted the opener one minute to the break through a powerful header inside the area, connecting a Christine Adhiambo fine corner.

The Starlets continued with a great dominance in the second half and Velma Awuor dazzled through the Ethiopia defence and unleashed a power strike outside the box to extend Kenya’s lead in the 54th minute.

Butere Girls High School skipper Lorna Faith summed up the Kenya home victory with a beautiful curling from the right side of the Ethiopian yard in the 70th minute that left goalkeeper Abeba Tassew the crowd into delirium.

“We went more on offensive, probably the Ethiopians expected us to defend as we did in the away game but we changed our tact and that is what helped us today to emerge victorious,” grinned coach Cheche.

After the resounding show in front of the Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba, the Junior Starlets are now on the blink of a World Cup ticket for the Dominican Republic in October this year.

The team will face another CECAFA neighbours Burundi in the final round of the qualifications process.

The victors of the fourth round will sail through to the 2024 FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup in the Dominican Republic in October.

Burundi sailed through to the final round after mercilessly thrashing Djibouti 24-0 on aggregate with both matches being staged in Addis Ababa.

“Burundi is a good team, we have faced them before and they beat us in the same category. However, we approach the game just like the Ethiopia game and we hope to succeed,” Cheche added.

In the next round, Kenya will begin away in Addis for the first leg encounter and seek to finish the business at home.

Other teams that are through to the next round of the 2024 FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup Qualifiers are Zambia, Morocco and Nigeria.

The final round of the qualifiers is scheduled for next month but the dates are not yet confirmed.

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