‘Proud’ coach Kanyi rallies more support for Starlets
Harambee Starlets head coach Richard Kanyi says more emphasis needs to be laid on promoting football for women as he looks to build the national team into a continental force.
The Starlets enjoyed a standout 2016 in a breakthrough year that saw them qualify for their first ever Africa Women Cup of Nations (AWCON) as well as impressing across a series of regional and international tournaments.
The Starlets have been listed by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) among nominees for the Women National Team of the Year, a recognition Kanyi says is a source of pride for him and for the growing sport for women.
“We deserve to be on the list because of our performance in last year’s AWCON. Even if we fail to win it just being on the list is a big deal for us,” Kanyi told Citizen Digital.
Kenya earned the nomination alongside Ghana’s U-20 team, Nigeria U-20, South Africa and Zimbabwe. The winners will be decided through a vote by the members of the CAF Technical and Development Committee, CAF media experts’ panel and independent media and TV consultants.
No Starlets players made the five-woman list of the nominees for the continent’s player of the year with little-known Tabitha Chawinga of Malawi earning a surprise nomination.
Starlets made a maiden appearance in the 2016 Africa Women Cup of Nations in Cameroon last year, bowing out at the first round at the hands of Nigeria, Mali, and Ghana.
The team then made a guest appearance at the COSAFA Women Championship held in Zimbabwe in September 2017, finishing fourth behind South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia.
Kanyi says the Kenyan team has enough talent in its tank to qualify for the FIFA Women’s World Cup qualification set to be held in France in 2019 but warned more needs to be done in nurturing the sport should they achieve such a feat.
“My aim is to lead the team to play in the world cup next season. This requires collective effort especially from our stakeholders.”
Harambee Starlets are set to take on Uganda in an Africa Women Cup of Nations Qualifier, with the first leg match slated for February 26, 2018.
Nominees’ Full List:
Women’s Player of the Year
Asisat Oshoala (Nigeria & Dalian Quanjian), Chrestina Kgatlana (South Africa & UWC Ladies), Gabrielle Aboudi Onguene(Cameroon & CSKA Moscow), Rutendo Makore (Zimbabwe & Black Rhinos) and Tabitha Chawinga (Malawi)
Women’s National Team of the Year
Ghana U-20, Kenya, Nigeria U-20, South Africa and Zimbabwe
Coach of the Year
Gernot Rohr (Nigeria), Hector Cuper (Egypt), Hugo Broos (Cameroon), L’Hussein Amoutta (Wydad Athletic Club) and Mihayo Kazembe (TP Mazembe)
National Team of the Year
Cameroon, Egypt, Mali U-17, Nigeria and Zambia U-20
Club of the Year
Al Ahly, Mbabane Swallows, SuperSport United, TP Mazembe and Wydad Athletic Club
Youth Player of the Year
Eric Ayiah (Ghana & Charity Stars), Krepin Diatta (Senegal &Sarpsborg), Luther Singh (South Africa & Braga), Patson Daka (Zambia & Liefering) and Salam Giddou (Mali & Guidars)
Referee of the Year
Bamlak Tessema (Ethiopia), Ghead Grisha (Egypt), Janny Sikazwe (Zambia), Malang Diedhiou (Senegal), Mehdi Abid Charef (Algeria) and Papa Bakary Gassama (Gambia)
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