Essie Akida returns to Harambee Starlets after two-year hiatus

Uganda goalkeeper Tracy Akiror makes a save under pressure from Harambee Starlets striker Essie Akida during their Women's Africa Cup of Nations qualifier first leg match on April 4, 2018 at Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • This will be Alumurah's first assignment as coach after his appointment to the team on Monday by the Football Kenya Federation Caretaker Committee. 
  • Alumirah took over from interim coach Charles Okere, who guided the senior national women's team through the first round qualifiers in 2021. 

Harambee Starlets head coach Alex Alumirah has named a provisional squad ahead of their 2022 Africa Women Cup of Nations (AWCON) second round qualifier assignment scheduled for February against Uganda.

This will be Alumurah's first assignment as coach after his appointment to the team on Monday by the Football Kenya Federation Caretaker Committee. 

Alumirah took over from interim coach Charles Okere, who guided the senior national women's team through the first round qualifiers in 2021. 

The star studded team comprises of some of the top players in the Kenya Women Premier League including Dorcas Shikobe, currently based in Lakatamia FC in Cyprus, Cynthia Shilwatso based in Spain under Logrono FC,  goalkeeper Lilian Awuor based in France and Jentrix Shikangwa, who recently signed a deal with Faith Karagumruk after an impressive performance in the inaugural 2021 CAF Women's Champions League. 

Esse Akida, who plies her trade with Greek giants PAOK Women, is also making a return to the squad after a two year hiatus. 

Alumirah has also included some players from Tanzania's Tiger Queens among them goalkeeper Samantha Akinyi and midfielder Diana Koske. 

Alumirah served as Tiger Queens team manager between August 2021 and December 2021 right after parting ways with Vihiga Queens. 

Other familiar names in the squad include Vivian Nasaka,  captain Enez Mango, Sheryl Angachi and Martha Amunyolette, who made her debut in the first round qualifier. 

Kenya advanced after outclassing South Sudan 15-1 on aggregate.

"As you can see the squad is still intact, with just a few changes here and there but I know that will add on to the performance. 

We want to immediately build on chemistry but I am not worried about the fitness level since most of them have been active in the WPL. We are now focused on tackling the first leg with all we have then figure out things from there. Otherwise this is a winning team," said Alumirah. 

The first leg of the second round is slated for February 16 in Kampala, while the second leg is set for February 23 In Nairobi. The winners will proceed to the final tournament in Morocco.

Kenya featured at the 2016 AWCON finals in Cameroon, but missed out on the 2018 edition.

Full Provisional Squad 

Goalkeepers 
Annette Kundu(AEL-Cyprus), Pauline Kathuru (GASPO), Lilian Awour (Soyaux- France), Samantha Akinyi(Tigers Fc - Tanzania), Carolyne Rufa (Fountain Gate - Tanzania)
Defenders
Leah Andiema (GASPO), Vivian Nasaka (Vihiga Queens), Juliet Andibo (Thika Queens), Dorcas Shikobe (Lakatama FC- Cyprus), Lucy Akoth (Ulinzi), Phoebe Owiti (Vihiga Queens), Enez Mango (Vihiga Queens), Wincate Kaari (Thika Queens), Ruth Ingotsi (Lakatamia- Cyprus), Janet Bundi (Vihiga Queens), Janet Mumo (Mathare United), Anita Adongo (Alliance - Tanzania), Lavender (Zetech), Nelly Sawe (Thika Queens)
Midfielders
Sheril Angachi (Ulinzi Starlets), Corazone Aquino (Gaspo Women), Mercy Oginga (Vihiga Queens), Lydia Akoth (Thika Queens), Nuru Adima (Thika Queens), Cynthia Shilwatso(Logrono-Spain), Lorna Nyarinda (Vihiga Queens), Martha Amunyolette (Trans Nzoia Queens), Marjolene Nekesa (USA), Diana Koske (Tigers - Tanzania), Cindy Ngaira (Wadadia)
 

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