Unshaken Harambee Starlets captain Ruth Ingosi stands tall despite penalty miss


FOOTBALL Unshaken Harambee Starlets captain Ruth Ingosi stands tall despite penalty miss

Festus Chuma 18:56 - 27.09.2023

Ingosi remains confident after missed penalty, praising teammate Kundu's performance, leading Harambee Starlets to victory over Cameroon in a crucial match.

 Harambee Starlets captain Ruth Ingosi exhibited a paragon of resilience and confidence even after experiencing a heart-wrenching penalty miss against Cameroon in a 2024 Africa Women's Cup of Nations qualifier on Tuesday afternoon.

Ingosi’s penalty, unfortunately, met the unwavering hands of Cameroonian goalkeeper Michaely Bihina, but this setback did not faze the steadfast skipper in the least.

Ingosi, who graced the field as the Starlets’ first penalty taker, entrusted her hopes and spirits into the capable hands of her colleague and custodian Annedy Kundu.

Despite the initial hiccup, Ingosi’s belief in herself and her teammates remained unyielding, laying the foundation for a triumphant finish for the Kenyan team.

“I wasn’t under any pressure, nor was I heartbroken after the miss,” the unyielding Ingosi  was quoted by Capital FM.I kept my focus sharp and continued to psych up my fellow players who were queued up for the penalty shots. Annedy had given me her word – she assured me she’d successfully intercept at least one shot. I had complete trust in her capabilities and knew she’d deliver without a shadow of a doubt.”

Ingosi's faith was not misplaced, as the game unfolded with Kundu showcasing a remarkable performance, ultimately contributing to a 4-3 victory for the Starlets, with Kundu saving a crucial penalty and another hitting the bar. The win was sealed with Sheryl Angachi dispatching the winning shot, securing Kenya’s progression to the next round.

The synergy between Ingosi and Kundu is not a serendipitous occurrence; the pair have previously shared the pitch at AEL Champions, a top-tier football club in Cyprus, establishing a rapport and understanding that have evidently translated into their national performances.

In reflecting on the victory, Ingosi could barely contain her elation. “It’s hard to articulate the immense joy swelling within me,” admitted the Starlets' captain. “Our objective was to put our best foot forward, especially before our home crowd. We aimed to make our fans proud, and progressing through to the next round by defeating a formidable team like Cameroon is no small feat.”

The captain further emphasized the team’s approach to the game: “We encouraged one another to stay relaxed, enjoy our game, and not to rush through the motions. This strategy evidently paid off for us.”

Looking forward, the triumph over Cameroon represents more than just a singular victory for Ingotsi and her teammates. It is symbolic of the potential and promise the Harambee Starlets possess, with eyes now firmly set on qualification for the Cup of Nations.

“This victory is significant for us,” noted Ingosi, “and its importance will only amplify if we secure qualification for the Cup of Nations. "I am confident in our abilities and the talent within our squad to achieve this goal.”

Since Kundu's stellar performance in the 2019 CECAFA tournament in Tanzania, where she clinched the Golden Glove without conceding, she has become an indispensable asset to the Starlets.

Having endured a 1-0 loss to Cameroon in the first leg at Douala's Reunification Stadium, the Starlets' recent win not only avenges their initial defeat but also paves the way for their aspirations for the bi-annual tournament.

With their spirits high and skills sharpened, the team aims to make their second appearance, following their 2016 debut, and leave an indelible mark on the tournament’s history.