The Kenya national women’s team, the Harambee Starlets have pleaded with the Kenyan government for support after they knocked Ghana out of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics qualifiers on Tuesday.
The Kenyans progressed to the fourth round of the qualifiers after seeing off the Black Queens on a 1-0 aggregate win. Kenya had managed a 0-0 draw in the first leg, but returned home to triumph 1-0.
Black Queens conceded a penalty in extra time which was converted by Gentrix Shikangwa.
Starlets captain Dorcas Shikobe now believes the Ministry of Sports will support them to play in the January Olympics.
“We have fought for this team since 2015 but the government still owes us money. We ask them to help us and give us the same support which they accord the men’s team.” Shikobe said.
“This will boost our morale and make our upcoming fixtures easy.”
A Contrast in Support
Starlets made history by qualifying for the Africa Women’s Cup of Nations (AWCON) with limited government support.
The men’s team received Sh 244 Million for preparations and bonuses after qualifying for the Africa Cup of Nations finals in Egypt. The Starlets can only dream of such figures.
In two rounds of the Olympic qualifiers, they have not received a single cent from the Ministry of Sports. Despite the fact it has a sports fund for such purposes and ironically, the head is a woman.
“The team has not received any support from the government for the last year, yet they have done very well and we hope they continue with that kind of performance.” Football Kenya Federation president Nick Mwendwa said.
Sports Ministry Principal Secretary Peter Kaberia said they had received a request from the team but did not comment on whether they will be supported.
Shikobe believes the Starlets are ready for their next round opponents Zambia, who beat Botswana 2-0 to win their tie 3-0 on aggregate.
“I have played against both [Zambia] and [Botswana] and won against them. So we are ready for Zambia.”
One team from Africa will automatically qualify for the Olympics while another will face Chile in the play-off.
By: Bree Mongina (@beebree0)