Harambee Starlets striker decries Kenya's stagnation while rivals mix with the best at Women’s World Cup

Harambee Starlets striker decries Kenya's stagnation while rivals mix with the best at Women’s World Cup

Mark Kinyanjui 12:47 - 05.08.2023

Esse Akida has expressed her disappointment at seeing Zambia, who they recently came close to beating, making waves at the World Cup as Kenya remain behind

Harambee Starlets striker Essie Akida is disappointed at how Kenya has been left behind by rivals on the continent who they were beating not long ago.  

The outspoken star was in rage as she observed how Zambia, a team Kenya gave a hard time in the 2020 Olympic qualifiers had gone on to mix with the best at the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup while they stagnated. 

Akida insists that Kenya has just chosen to ‘ignore many things’ which, had they been adhered to, would have made the side among Africa's representatives at the 2023 tournament in Australia and New Zealand.

“I have been watching the World Cup like everyone else! Not that these girls are more deadly than us, it is just we are choosing to ignore many things,” she wrote on social media.

“While others are making great strides, we are just here being looked at. This Zambia was a team we gave a hard time recently. Now they are mixing with the best in the world.”

In the 2020 Women’s football CAF Olympic qualifiers, Starlets reached the fourth round of the Tokyo Olympic qualification phase where they were defeated by Zambia 4-4 on aggregate.

Zambia went on to beat Cameroon in the fifth round to qualify for the Olympics for the very first time.

At the Olympics, the side experienced a 10-3 loss to the Netherlands, the highest-scoring women's soccer match in the games’ history.

They drew 4-4 with China, before losing 1-0 to Brazil to finish third in their group. However, the experience they gained was invaluable, as they were able to get to the semi-finals of the 2022 CAF Women’s Africa Cup of Nations, which allowed them to qualify for the ongoing 2023 Women’s World Cup.

Starlets could have had the opportunity to qualify for the World Cup had they participated at the WAFCON, but the FIFA ban, imposed on the country’s football due to government interference, made it impossible for the side to take part in the qualifiers against Uganda in 2022.

The interference also means that Kenya will not be taking part in the 2024 Paris Olympic games qualifiers.

Kenya, however, have a chance to make amends by qualifying for the 2024 Women’s AFCON scheduled to take place in Morocco in 2024.