Odemba rallies Kenyan girls ahead of Fifa U20 World Cup qualifiers

Kenya Under-20 striker Fasila Adhiambo dribbles past Uganda's Eva Nagayi during their Fifa Under-20 Women World Cup Africa qualifiers on September 25, 2021 at Nyayo National Stadium.

Photo credit: Chris Omollo | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • The tournament will be held in Colombia from September 5 to September 22 next year.
  • Coach Odemba on Monday named a provisional squad of 30 players to kick-start Kenya's journey to her first World Cup.

Rising Starlets coach Beldine Odemba has underscored the importance of capitalising on home advantage when take on Angola in the first round of 2024 Fifa Under-20 Women's World Cup qualifiers.

The team will commence their journey at home on Sunday, with the second leg set to be held in Angola on October 14.

The tournament will be held in Colombia from September 5 to September 22 next year.

Odemba on Monday named a provisional squad of 30 players to kick-start Kenya's journey to her first World Cup.

No Kenyan football team, men or women, in any age category, has ever qualified for the World Cup.

"We need to win at home to keep our hopes of qualifying for the next round high. Angola appears to be beatable based on the videos we have watched," Odemba told Nation Sport.

But there is a problem in the Kenyan camp.

"As much as we are preparing the girls, lack of travel documents among is a big challenge. Without passports, some of our players may be unable to travel or play at home. We hope that the government will step in to help fasten the process," added Odemba.

Angola are expected in the country on Friday.

The aggregate winner of the two-leg tie will face either Cameroon or Botswana in the second round.

Odemba last week guided the senior women's national football team, Harambee Starlets, to the second round of the 2024 Women's Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers at the expense of Cameroon. Kenya beat the Central African football giants 4-3 on post-match penalties after the two sides tied 1-1 on agreggate after the second leg.

Kenya will now face Botswana in a two-leg tie with the winner progressing to the tournament set to be held in Morocco next year.

The players called up to the squad reported to camp last Saturday at Stadion Hotel in Nairobi.

Odemba has almost full house in camp and the girls have been training at Kasarani Annex in Nairobi.

Among the new faces are goalkeepers Nelly Achieng of Football Kenya Federation Women Premier League (FKF-WPL) debutants Soccer Assassins, Judith Okumu and Christine Omolo, both from Butere Girls.

Okumu is the younger sister of Harambee Stars defender Joseph Okumu, who plays in France.

Ulinzi Starlets striker Fasila Adhiambo, 2022/23 Division One Golden Boot winner Valarie Nekesa of Soccer Assassins and Elizabeth Muteshi of Nakuru City Queens are expected to lead Kenya's line against Angola.

The last time the Kenya Under 20 team took part in the Fifa U-20 Women World Cup qualifiers was in October 2021, against Uganda's Junior Crested Cranes.

Kenya did not qualify after they lost 10-3 to Uganda on aggregate. Kenya was beaten 7-2 in Nairobi and 3-1 in Uganda respectively.

This will be the 11th edition of the competition and will see 16 nations compete against each other for the prize money with Spain being the defending champions having won the title in 2022.

Provisional Squad

Goalkeepers: Nelly Achieng (Soccer Assassins), Judith Okumu (Butere Girls), Scovia Awuor (Sigtuna Football Academy), Christine Omolo (Butere Girls)

Defenders: Dorcas Glenda (Red Commandos), Ruth Akinyi (Nasokol Girls), Charity Luhavi (Wiyeta Girls), Mollyne Akinyi (Acakoro), Velma Kaveza (Itigo girls), Purity Awino (Nairobi Starlets), Anne Brenda Achieng (Macmillan Queens), Elizabeth Ochaka (Butere Girls)

Midfielders: Clotilda Auma (Butere Girls), Hellen Auma (Soccer Assassins), Jane Hato (Soccer Assassins), Susan Akoth (Acakoro), Jerrine Adhiambo (Soccer Assassins), Faith Atieno (Soccer Assassins), Anno Halima Dima (Kayole Starlet), Elizabeth Muteshi (Nakuru City Queens), Rebecca Kwoba (Zetech Sparks), Rachel Adhiambo (Acakoro)

Forwards: Elizabeth Mideva (ArchBishop Njenga), Fasila Adhiambo (Ulinzi Starlets), Valerie Nekesa (Soccer Assassins), Faith Naliaka (Bukhaywa Secondary School), Anne Nabwire (Zetech Sparks), Marion Serenge (ArchBishop Njenga), Charity Midewa (Soccer Assassins), Emily Okute (Gaspo Women)