Kenya Women’s Football legend Esse has returned to the national team for the first time in five years and is brimming with excitement ahead of her country’s two-leg 2024 Africa Cup of Nations (AWCON) qualifier game against the Indomitable Lionesses of Cameroon.
Greek-based Akida, currently on the books of Poak, fellow forward Adam Mwanahilama plus defenders Enez Mango and Vivian Nasaka alongside Marjorline Nekesa all based abroad joined camp this Monday as coach Beldine Odemba had a full house for the first time.
PAOK striker Akida arrived late due to her involvement in the UEFA Champions League last Saturday, against Austrian side St Polten FC.
“It feels good to be bad and its notable that my presence is still needed in the national team. I am proud to represent my country because it’s the dream of every player,” Akida told local media this Monday.
The player who trained with the rest of the squad in the afternoon highlighted an additional role of her’s in the team.
“Coming fresh from the Champions League doesn’t make it easy. It was a good show which gave us a chance to learn and experience a lot. We will bring that experience to the national team. We are equal to the task and am sure of a positive results,” Akida concluded.
Akida’s last appearance for her country was during the 2018 AWCON qualifier in which she scored the goal to help her country play a 1-1 draw against Equatorial Guinea.
Her return to the Harambee Starlets is certainly a huge boast for the Harambee Starlets who have not qualified for the AWCON since after their participation in the 2016 AWCON tournament.
The 30-year-old forward scored Kenya’s lone goal at that tournament during the 1-3 defeat to Ghana.
The upcoming meeting of both nations will be the first since Cameroon beat Kenya 9-0 on aggregate to reach the 2006 tournament.
The Starlets contingent will travel to Douala – Cameroon on Tuesday 19, ahead of Friday’s first-leg clash against the Indomitable Lionesses. The reversed fixture will be played on September 26 at the Nyaro national stadium in Nairobi.
Aggregate winners of the tie will face either Gabon or Botswana in the second round, between November 27 and December 5, 2023.
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