What you need to know:
- Odemba, who is the first woman to be named head coach of the women's national team, will on Friday lead Starlets against Indomitable Lionesses of Cameroon in the first leg of their first round of their 2024 WAFCON qualifiers ion Yaounde, Cameroon. Kenya will host the second leg in Nairobi.
- Starlets touched down in Cameroon on Tuesday ahead of the crunch tie.
Former Harambee Starlets goalkeeper Veronicah Achieng has backed coach Beldine Odemba to lead Kenya to the 2024 Women Africa Cup Of Nations (WAFCON).
Odemba, who is the first woman to be named head coach of the women's national team, will on Friday lead Starlets against Indomitable Lionesses of Cameroon in the first leg of their first round of their 2024 WAFCON qualifiers ion Yaounde, Cameroon. Kenya will host the second leg in Nairobi.
Starlets touched down in Cameroon on Tuesday ahead of the crunch tie.
"In today's dynamic and unpredictable world of sports, anything can happen. Starlets have a real opportunity to leave their mark. However, I believe that success in the game goes beyond just talent and physical abilities. It heavily depends on the mentality and approach that these players bring to the field," Achieng' told Nation Sport.
"A generous 10-day period for preparation sounds like a reasonable time frame to allow these players to fine-tune their skills, develop strategies, and build team cohesion," added Achieng'.
Achieng was part of the Starlets team that last played Cameroon in Wafcon Qualifiers in 2006 under former coach Habil Nanjero.
Kenya failed to qualify for the fifth edition of the tournament that was hosted in Nigeria, losing 4-0 in Yaounde 5-0 in Nairobi respectively.
For the past 14 years, Achieng has been pursuing her passion to become a trained football coach after hanging her boots in 2009.
Her extensive experience as a goalkeeper from 1987 to 2006 playing, for local women football side Makolanders and Harambee Starlets, has been instrumental in her coaching career advancement.
Numerous football academies, such as Emerging Stars Football Academy in Westlands, Ufasimba Football Academy in Milimani Primary School and Football for Excellence Academy in Ruaraka, have all benefited from her expertise.
Achieng goes to Milimani Primary School four times a week to train Under-13 pupils.
The mother of two started her coaching journey in 2007.
"I have realised that a lot has changed in football. The rules and style of play keep changing," she noted.
The former Kenyan International acknowledges that women were not entrusted with coaching roles in top clubs because the field then was male dominated.
"The world is changing and I am glad that women have come out to do what they are passionate about. In the old days, coaching courses only benefited a few," added Acheing.
Achieng' was one of 25 coaches who received their CAF D coaching course certificate after completing 10 days of training in Kayole that was organised by the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) on August 17.
Achieng' appeals to the federation to include trained women coaches from across the country in the youth structures of the national team.
"I call upon more women to come on board and apply for these courses. All the information about coaching is easily accessible on the federation website. Let us come out and give hope to young women who are passionate about the game."
According to FKF, they have trained some 6,000 coaches in various levels since 2016. The federation says their main focus is ensuring at least 10,000 coaches are equipped with modern football training skills with 200 or more getting CAF A licenses in future.