Euphoria as Junior Starlets Take Kenya to the World Cup for the First Time in History

Euphoria as Junior Starlets Take Kenya to the World Cup for the First Time in History

Martin Moses
updated at June 16, 2024 at 6:56 PM
In this article:
Kenya Women's Football League logo
  • Kenya Women's U17 side became the first Kenyan football side, men or women, to qualify for a World Cup tournament
  • The Junior Starlets beat Burundi 5-0 over two legs in the final round of the qualifiers to enter into the annals of history
  • The 2024 Women's U17 World Cup, competed by 26 teams, will be held in the Dominican Republic from October 16 to November 3

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Kenya qualified for a World Cup competition for the first time in history after its women's U17 side beat Burundi 2-0 in the second leg of the final round of qualifiers on June 16.

The Junior Starlets delivered in front of an exuberant sold-out Ulinzi Sports Complex, as Kenyans turned out in large numbers to witness the history-defining moment.

Junior Starlets, Women's U17 World Cup, Kenya vs Burundi
Junior Starlets players celebrate after scoring against Burundi on June 16, 2024, at the Ulinzi Sports Complex in Nairobi. Credit, @Harambee_Starlets.
Source: Twitter

Junior Starlets vs Burundi match report?

Marion Serenge capitalised on a mistake from the Burundi defence to open the scoring in the 17th minute.

Four minutes later, Valerie Nekesa sent the home crowd into total delirium after she embarked on a mini-solo run before dispatching Kenya's second of the game.

The Junior Starlets had beaten their opponents 3-0 in the first leg held at the Abebe Bikila Stadium in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, last week.

Junior Starlets journey to the World Cup

It is the first time that a Kenyan football team of any gender and age group has qualified for a World Cup competition.

Coached by Mildred Cheche, their journey began in the first round, where they received a bye after the Democratic Republic of Congo withdrew. They then dispatched Ethiopia 3-0 in the penultimate round to set up the clash against Burundi.

So confident and good were the Junior Starlets that they made light work of Burundi, who had beaten Djibouti 24-0 in the previous round.

Kenya will now become one of three African representatives at the 2024 Women's U17 World Cup, which will be held in the Dominican Republic from October 16 to November 3.

What next after qualification?

Speaking earlier to Sports Brief, journalist Kevin Teya pointed out the core of the team needed to be maintained ahead of the World Cup.

The Junior Starlets have been in camp since the qualification journey started, with the Ministry of Sports running a joint effort with the Kenya Academy of Sports.

"I'll insist that they get the same support they have gotten in the qualifying campaign," said Teya.
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Martin Moses
Martin Moses is a sports journalist with over five years of experience in media. He graduated from Multimedia University of Kenya (Bachelor of Journalism, 2017-2021)