Harambee Starlets head coach Beldine Odemba exudes confidence ahead of crucial tie against Cameroon


FOOTBALL Harambee Starlets head coach Beldine Odemba exudes confidence ahead of crucial tie against Cameroon

Festus Chuma 15:11 - 25.09.2023

Coach Odemba expresses optimism for Harambee Starlets' rematch, urging fan support after initial 1-0 loss to Cameroon in Nairobi.

Harambee Starlets may have faced a challenging first-leg tie against Cameroon, but head coach Beldine Odemba remains optimistic about their chances in the upcoming second leg. 

Falling 1-0 in the initial Women's Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON) qualifier clash played at Reunification Stadium in Douala, Cameroon last Friday, Odemba shed light on the factors at play and appeals to fans for their unwavering support.

In a media briefing on Monday, Odemba revisited the events of last match where Cameroon's early 11th-minute header put them ahead. Despite their best efforts, Starlets could not secure an equaliser, resulting in a narrow loss.

“We adhered to our game plan. Sometimes, there's apprehension, especially when playing away, and feeling the pressure from the home fans, often referred to as the 12th player," she shared her insight.

“It has been a while since the players were last on the field. They took their time to recover, and once they acclimated, they performed well. Unfortunately, the outcome wasn't what we had hoped for."

The Starlets are now back home and looking forward to the return leg set to take place at Nyayo National Stadium. They landed on Sunday from Cameroon and have since been preparing rigorously. 

"The morale in the camp is high, and the players are pushing themselves hard in anticipation of the return leg clash," she added.

Tuesday's clash is crucial for the Starlets as they need a win to enhance their chances of proceeding to the next stage.

Looking forward to the game, Odemba urged fans to be present. "I would like to urge them (fans) to come in numbers. Starlets have been getting positive vibes from fans, we know they believe in us, and if they turn up in numbers, it will be a big boost. I know it's not a good day, but if they can ask for permission from work and come to support us," she added.

With the weight of the second leg match on her shoulders, the coach recognises the importance of home advantage and believes that a full stadium could make all the difference. She concluded her message to the fans stating, "If fans can attend the match tomorrow, it will be a tremendous boost for us as a team."

Should the Starlets be the aggregate victors of this two-legged clash, they would go on to face either Gabon or Botswana in the second round scheduled between November 27 and December 5. 

Success in this subsequent round guarantees a spot in the prestigious 2024 Africa Women’s Cup of Nations, set to take place in Morocco.