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. Enditem

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