Kenya national women’s team head coach, David Ouma, believes their forthcoming trip to play in the annual Turkish Women’s Cup next month is the platform they need to aim for a successful World Cup qualifying bid in the future.
The 2020 edition of the competition is also known as the Alanya Gold City Cup, which will run from March 2 to 11.
Ouma, who led the team known as the Harambee Starlets to their first and only Africa Women’s Cup of Nations (AWCON) campaign in 2016, said on Saturday the decision to send the side to Europe is another sign of the seriousness women’s football is being accorded in the country.
“This is a big move for our national team again to play in the Turkish Women’s Cup where we will face a highly ranked team like Chile that is consistently at the World Cup,” Ouma stated.
“I think it gives us a big plus to develop the resilience it needs once we get the opportunity, for example, to qualify for the Africa Women Cup of Nations that eventually again will give us the opportunity and possibility to qualify for the World Cup,” he added.
Earlier in the week, the head coach released his provisional team that features most of the players who won the regional Cecafa Women’s Championships last year in Tanzania.
He also scouted a local age group competition to hand Falling Water’s player Jane Njeri, who led her team to win the Central region title, a debut call-up.
The opportunity for Kenya to travel to Turkey comes hot on the heels of the transfer of Starlets striker, Esse Akida, to Istanbul giants Besiktas from Israeli top-flight Ramat Hasharon.
The 27-year-old forward, who penned a two-year deal with the Turkish outfit, joined a number of Starlets players who have secured moves to European clubs following the resurgence of the team in recent years.
Teammates Ruth Ingotsi and Annette Kundu recently signed three-year contracts with Cypriot side Lakatamia FC with their compatriot Corazon Aquino joining Portuguese side Atletico Quriense.
“And this is where we are at the moment, we are pushing for the women football, because when you look at currently where we are ranked at 133 position and we would like to be at the World Cup we’ve got to play the top ranked teams across the world. Where are these teams mostly? In Europe and South America,” Ouma said.
The head coach is expected to trim the squad to a final list of 21, a few days before the team jets out to Turkey on March 2. Enditem