What you need to know:
- The continental showpiece, where Kenya will be making its maiden appearance, begins on November 19 to December 3 in Cameroon.
- Kenya is in Group B alongside defending champions Nigeria, Mali and Ghana.
Football Kenya Federation is in talks with the Ministry of Defence over the availability of Harambee Starlets striker Neddy Atieno for the Africa Women’s Cup of Nations.
The continental showpiece, where Kenya will be making its maiden appearance, begins on November 19 to December 3 in Cameroon.
Kenya is pooled in Group B alongside defending champions Nigeria, Mali and Ghana but the team run the risks of missing Atieno who has secured a job with the Kenya Defence Forces and is required to report for military training immediately.
FKF president Nick Mwendwa yesterday said that they have written to the Ministry requesting that Atieno be allowed to feature at the Cup of Nations before she embarks on her military training.
“We have written to them (KDF) to see we if they’ll release her, but if they can’t then we won’t take her to the Cup of Nations. It is a sensitive issue and we hope we’ll arrive at a solution,” Mwendwa said.
Atieno has been an important figure in the David Ouma-coached side, scoring crucial goals and her absence will mean that Esse Akida and Christine Nafula will shoulder the goal scoring burden. It might also expose the Starlets in the Nations Cup.
Should she fail to travel, Atieno will become the third player to pull out of the squad after Mwanahalima “Dogo” Adam and Pauline Naise who requested for time out to pursue academic and work related duties respectively.
Coach Ouma could also be forced to explore the option of converting skipper Mary Kinuthia into a lead striker.
Meanwhile, the Starlets continue with their rigorous run of build-up matches on Friday when they entertain their Egyptian counterparts at the Safaricom Stadium, Kasarani under flood lights.
Starlets have had a hectic two months participating in the Cecafa Women Championship in Uganda where they came second behind Tanzania after falling 2-1 in the final in September.
The Cecafa outing was quickly followed by two build-up matches in Morocco where they crushed CAK Khenifra 6-1 and Wydad Casablanca 8-1 before losing 1-0 to Cameroons’ Lionesses in another warm-up at Kasarani at the weekend.
After Friday’s friendly, the Starlets will jet out for Yaounde for a re-match against Cameroon on November 5, in what will be their final build-up match before they begin their quest for the Africa Women Cup of Nations title.