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Kenya coach says team best placed to win regional soccer tourney   

By John Kwoba NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s women’s national team coach David Ouma has urged his side to channel their frustration after missing out of the Africa Nations Cup on winning this month’s regional soccer championships in Kigali, Rwanda.

Kenya team, Harambee Starlets, were edged 2-1 in 2016 by champions Tanzania in the regional CECAFA, but have since found their groove, qualifying for the first Africa Women’s Nations Cup in Ghana in 2016 and lost out to Equatorial Guinea 3-2 in the 2018 qualifying campaign for the finals in Cameroon.

“The players are still frustrated after we lost to Equatorial Guinea. As we start our training, I want them to focus their disappointments in winning the CECAFA tournament,” said Ouma on Sunday in Nairobi.

The regional CECAFA Women’s Championships has attracted only five teams of host Rwanda, Kenya, champions Tanzania, Ethiopia and Uganda. The championship starts on July 19-27.

Ouma has drafted a team that has both young and experienced players whom he believes are capable of delivering an improved performance to secure the title.

“Pressure certainly is on us. We have progressed highest from the region and the focus will be on Kenya to secure the title. But it will not be a walk in the park as Tanzania will be ready to fight every minute while host Rwanda will also present a strong challenge,” he said.

CECAFA Secretary General Nicholas Musonye has hinted that only women referees will be allowed to officiate in the match as they seek to promote the sport among the women in the region.

“I may be the only man in Kigali. We want more women coming up to take the lead and be in charge of their own tournament. The host will help us attain this goal,” said Musonye.

Ouma, who guided the team to its first ever appearance at the African Women’s Cup of Nations in 2016, says that he has a revamped squad of young, talented players who are capable of winning the tournament.

“Last time the team was unlucky to lose in the finals but this year we have a chance to make things right. All the five teams taking part in the competition are strong but we have a good team and we are getting good support from the federation. I believe we can win it this time if the girls can stay focused,” he said.

Kenya team will be in camp for two weeks before the coach trims it down from 28 players to 18, who will travel to Kigali for the tournament.

Prolific forward Corazon Aquino will miss this year’s edition as she is booked for trials with a top Swedish side later this month.

Starlets are among the five teams that have confirmed participation in this year’s Cecafa Women Senior Challenge which had earlier been scheduled for May 12-22 before being postponed due to lack of funds.



Kenya face Uganda in regional women soccer championship in Rwanda

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s has been pitted against Uganda’s Crested Cranes in the opening match of the regional CECAFA Women Championships which will be hosted in Kigali, Rwanda from July 19-27.

The two sides faced off recently in a two-legged Africa Women’s Cup of Nations (AWCON) qualifier in April, with Kenya emerging winners with a 1-0 aggregate victory.

A total of 11 countries, including hosts Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Burundi, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Eritrea, Sudan and South Sudan make the CECAFA regional bloc. However, only five teams have teams ready for the tournament, which starts in Kigali in less two week’s time, though organizers remain open for late entries.

The five teams confirmed are Kenya, host Rwanda, Uganda, Ethiopia and champions Tanzania. CECAFA failed to host the tournament last year citing lack of funds.

Rwandan FA spokesperson, Bonnie Mugabe, confirmed receiving funds from CECAFA for the tournament.

CECAFA Secretary General Nicholas Musonye said global football governing body FIFA had dispatched 1 million U.S. dollars towards hosting of tournaments in the region.

“CECAFA has received 1 million dollars from FIFA grant. This money will be used to host all regional championships this year including CECAFA Under-17, Senior Women and Senior Men’s competitions,” said Musonye.

Rwanda had postponed holding the event in May after CECAFA failed to provide funds citing delays from FIFA. But all has been sorted out and the regions 11 teams will battle it out.

Tanzania are the tournament defending champions and will be putting their title on the line starting their campaign against hosts Rwanda on June 19.

Golf: Reigning champions Kenya to battle Uganda in regional Victoria Cup

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Reigning champions Kenya will have their title on the line as they take on Uganda in this year’s Victoria Cup golf tournament from July 25 to 28.

The hosts have unveiled their 10-man team for the tournament, the format of which is identical to the Ryder Cup.

The two countries will be battling out for a trophy donated by former Boston Marathon champion and immediate captain of Eldoret Golf Club, Moses Tanui.

This is the third edition of the rotational Victoria Cup between Kenya and Uganda, with the inaugural tournament having been held in Nairobi in 2016, before moving to Uganda’s Entebbe Golf Club in 2017. Kenya emerged victorious on both occasions.

The two teams will present their top amateurs and will be using the four-day tournament as a dress rehearsal ahead of the inaugural Africa Region Four that will be held in Mombasa from August 1 to 5.

“We have a capable team that has been working around the clock to ensure that the event is a great success. Kenya’s team is strong,” Lucas Maranga, the Kenya Golf Union (KGU) chairman said on Friday.

“We have some of the best players drawn from different clubs in the country. As a Union, we are confident of retaining the Victoria Cup for the third time in a row.”

The 10-man team includes John Karichu, Mike Kisia, Edwin Mudanyi, Dennis Saikwa, Isaac Makhoha, Daniel Nduva, Paul Muchangi, Agil Is-Haq, Mutahi Kibugu and Zubair Khan. The practise round starts on July 25, with the tournament officially teeing off on July 26.

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