Kenya has launched a complaint with the Confederation of African Football (CAF) in a bid to bar Equatorial Guinea from going to Ghana for this year’s Africa Women Cup of Nations finals in November.
The Kenya women’s football team, the Harambee Starlets, gave up a 2-1 first leg lead to lose 2-0 away in Bata on Sunday, ending their hopes of making their second appearance at the Africa Women Cup of Nations.
Equatorial Guinea, who qualified 3-2 on aggregate score, will join Algeria, Cameroon, Mali, South Africa, Zambia, and hosts Ghana in the finals in November.
However, Harambee Starlets coach David Ouma has not ruled out returning to the finals, as the Kenyan football federation has petitioned CAF to disqualify Equatorial Guinea for allegedly fielding an ineligible player during the first leg match in Machakos.
The West African side featured Celestina Manga Besecu, whom Kenya claim is from Cameroon and not Equatorial Guinea. They also allege that her real name is Fadimatou Veronique Nsongone.
“We have petitioned CAF to act on the matter and we can only wait to see the outcome. But I am not losing hope,” Ouma said on Monday evening in Nairobi.
In October 2017, world football governing body FIFA barred Equatorial Guinea from taking part in next year’s Women’s World Cup in France for fielding ineligible players and using forged documents.
Meanwhile, Kenya’s players returned home on Monday saying they gave it their best shot. Ouma lauded his team’s efforts in the campaign and said they should push on for professional contracts abroad to improve their careers.
“They have shown they can fight it out with other top women footballers and they can secure contracts abroad. Let them not sit on their talent,” he advised.
He added that their failure to secure automatic qualification should not make them feel bad.
“We had a burning desire to qualify and that showed but we lacked the final push to wrap up the win. We conceded early and opened our defense and they punished us. Hopefully we will learn from the experience. The team played well,” Ouma said.