Ouma rallies Starlets to face Nigeria without fear
Harambee Starlets head coach, David Ouma has called on his girls to face champions Nigeria without fear in their quest to finish their maiden Africa Women Cup of Nations (Awcon) on a high on Saturday.
Already eliminated Starlets have nothing but pride to play for when they face the tournament favourites who are aiming for the win to guarantee qualification.
Nine-time African women champions, Nigeria are level on four points at the top of Group B with Ghana who play Mali but leading on goal difference with Starlets crashing out of the competition after successive 3-1 defeats in their opening two games.
“The only thing our team has to work on is mental strength and to have nerves regardless of the situation they come across against their opponents.
“We should respect our opponents but show competitiveness as a team now that we are playing at a higher level,” the Starlets boss told Citizen Digital.
Nine-time African women champions, Nigeria crushed Mali 6-0 but were pegged back by a 1-1 draw against the Black Queens who beat Startlets 3-1 in the opener to blow the group wide open.
Mali then thumped the Kenyans by a similar margin to move to a point behind the leaders as Starlets bowed out of the competition on Tuesday.
“Nigeria has played in various competitions and has vast of experience of featuring in top competitions such as World Cup, Olympics and Awcon.
“Our team therefore, has to respond positively ahead of this match having had enough recovery sessions. The quicker we recover, the stronger we will show our ability in the last game,” the Starlets boss emphasised.
Speaking to Citizen Digital, Ouma maintained his side was technically adept despite the defeats attributed to suicidal mistakes at the back.
“I don’t question the tactical and technical ability of the team but what my players have to do is step up their mentality and have the right frame of the game because if not properly handled, it can liquefy the competitiveness of the team,” the Starlets head coach added.
The coach believes the development stage of any team is relevant for any performance owing to the fact that they are participating in a major tournament for the first time.
“When teams are playing at the top for the first time you expect marginal errors. You never beat your child on the first day he begins walking, you will be tormenting him psychologically because the child will think that by walking the first day from crawling they made a mistake.
“So in every moment it takes a good strength and state of mind to control development. Therefore learning the hard way will make us perfect,” Ouma assured.
Starlets will have to keep an eye on Super Falcons star Asisat Oshoala who has scored five goals in the opening two matches alongside Francisca Ordega and Uchechi Sunday.
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