Kefwa urge CAF to reinstate Harambee Starlets in Awcon qualifiers

Harambee Starlets

Harambee Starlets players after their training session at Kasarani on February 1, 2022.

Photo credit: Chris Omollo | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Kenya was due to face Uganda in the second round with first leg set for February 13 in Kampala and the second leg on February 17 in Nairobi
  • However, last week CAF withdrew Kenya from the qualifiers and confirmed Uganda's qualification to Awcon after former FKF CEO Barry Otieno wrote to the continental body confirming Kenya's withdrawal
  • In a statement, Kefwa stated that alongside Fifpro, the global players union, they wouldn't like to see Kenya miss out on an opportunity to qualify for the 2023 World Cup

Kenya Footballers Welfare Association (Kefwa) has written to Confederation of African Football (CAF) requesting them to reinstate Harambee Starlets in the 2022 Africa Women Cup of Nations (Awcon) second round qualifiers.

Kenya was due to face Uganda in the second round with first leg set for February 13 in Kampala and the second leg on February 17 in Nairobi. 

However, last week CAF withdrew Kenya from the qualifiers and confirmed Uganda's qualification to Awcon after former FKF CEO Barry Otieno wrote to the continental body confirming Kenya's withdrawal.  

In a statement, Kefwa stated that alongside Fifpro, the global players union, they wouldn't like to see Kenya miss out on an opportunity to qualify for the 2023 World Cup. 

"The dream of every footballer is to play in a World Cup and for these opportunities to be taken away from these players without any effort to reach a solution is heartbreaking. We appeal for fair play to prevail, so these women have a chance to follow their dream," read Kefwa's statement in part. 

Kefwa have been at the forefront, promoting women's football in the country through their monthly awards for the most outstanding player in the Women Premier League. In December last year, they organised the inaugural Women Premier League Awards that saw 11 of the most outstanding players in the 2020/21 season walk away with gift hampers and Sh50,000 prize money. 

The 2022 Awcon tournament will also be used as qualifiers for 2023 Fifa Women’s World Cup. 

The top four teams will qualify for the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, and two more teams will advance to the inter-confederation play-offs.

Harambee Starlets have been in camp for the last one week at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani hopeful that they will get a chance to feature in the Awcon qualifiers. 

Sports Cabinet Secretary Anima Mohammed on Wednesday assured the women's senior team that they are in contact with CAF to ensure that they get the opportunity to compete. 

"We have a conversation that is ongoing and we are hoping that sooner rather than later that confirmations will be made. But we are still preparing and you can see that the girls are still in camp and they will be here until they leave for Uganda when this is all resolved," said Mohammed. 

According to Harambee Starlets head coach Alex Alumira, the team is in good form as they await the arrival of Europe-based players like Jentrix Shikangwa (Turkey), Esse Akida (Greece) and Dorcas Shikobe (Cyprus). 

"Since we named the provisional squad, my team and I have been in constant communication with the players currently playing outside Kenya and they are all very excited to come and represent the country.

"We are counting on the Fifa window where they will be released for ational team duties but for now they are all active in their respective leagues. Right now we have one of our goalkeepers, Caroline Rufaa who arrived on Monday night from Tanzania, and US based Marjolene Nekesa is also in the country and Anita Adongo who played for Tanzania's Alliance Queens is also in her way," said Alumira. 

Awcon tournament is set for July 2 to 23 in Morocco.

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