By CLIVE KYAZZE in JINJA
Harambee Starlets demolished Zanzibar 11-0 on Thursday to set up a semi-final showdown on Sunday with either Ethiopia or Tanzania in the ongoing Cecafa Women Championship.
The Starlets finished on top of Group A with 9 points having won all their matches without conceding a goal. Zanzibar on the other hand finished the tournament without a win.
“We are playing for every game, we respected Zanzibar as a team but we wanted to win the game as well. I’m proud of my players I must say,” David Ouma told Daily Nation after the game.
“This kind of performance boosts the confidence of the team as we go into the a very tough knockout phase,” he added.
Although Ouma rested eight of his first team players, that didn’t stop the tournament favourites from putting on a great display.
Hat-trick hero Christine Nafula tapped in a low ground cross from Mercy Achieng after 12 minutes to open the floodgates and 20 minutes later she curled her effort past Aminah Mohamed with her left foot.
There was time for Nafula to assist Jackie Ogol who slotted home Kenya’s third at the stroke of half time.
Three minutes into the second half, Mercy Achieng’s good interplay with Nafula had the former grab a fourth goal.
Ouma then changed his front three as Neddy Atieno came on for Achieng, Mary Wanjuku replaced Doreen Nabwire as Elizabeth Ambogo made way for Essa Akida.
Nafula completed her hat-trick in the 68th minutes when she tapped home a rebound off Wanjuku’s freekick.
Two minutes later, another hat-trick hero Jacky Ogol made it goal number six from 12 yards, after a Zanzibar player handled the ball inside the box.
A minute later Akida made it seven off Atieno’s cross. Vivian Odhiambo scored arguably the goal of the tournament after she was released by Akida to be left one-on-one with Mohamed in Zanzibar’s goal.
Odhiambo rounded off Mohamed before literally walking with the ball past the goal line for Kenya’s eighth.
In Similar fashion, Wanjiku was let loose by Nafula for Kenya’s ninth and her fifth of the campaign making her the tournament’s leading scorer.
Odhiambo grabbed her brace in the 90th minute with a powerful shot from 25 yards, before completing her hat-trick in added time.
Kenya had blanked Uganda and Burundi with identical 4-0 scores in their first two group matches.
“We were told to go out there and enjoy ourselves, we did exactly that and we hope to keep the momentum going into the semis,” Nafula said after the game.
Both semifinals will be played on Sunday with the final slated for Tuesday before the Starlets turn their attention to the Africa Cup of Women Championship slated for November in Cameroon.
Team lineups – Kenya: Samantha Akinyi, Irene Ogutu Awuor (captain), Jackline Jumah Akoth, Nixon Dorcas Shikobe, Calleb Teresa Ouko, Jacky Ogol, Mercy Achieng Onyango, Christine Nafula, Elizabeth Ambogo, Doreen Nabwire Omondi, Vivian Corazon
Subs: Lilian Onyango, Ann Alouch, Carolyne Omondi, Mary Wanjiku, Neddy Atieno, Essa Akida, Cheris Salano,
Zanzibar: Amina Mohamed, Abdallah Mwajuma, Riziki Mohamed, Ali Mtumwa, Khalid Warda, FatumaSalum, Msimu Hassan, Nassirin Ahmed, Zena Rashid, Sabahi Yussuf, Aziza Mtumwa
Subs: Khadija Saleh, Paulina Zacharia, Machano Neema, Suzanna Francis, Nuru Nassib, Zulekhe Omari