Harambee Starlets came from behind twice as they defeated Mozambique 5-2 in a Group B match at the ongoing COSAFA Women’s Championship played at Luveve Stadium in Zimbabwe on Thursday evening.
Neddy Atieno scored a hat-trick with Phoebe Oketch and Mwanahalima scoring one each while Mozambique’s Lucia Leila scored a brace.
Despite missing the services of some key players who took part in the African Women Cup of Nations (AWCON) last year in Cameroon, Starlets showed maturity to make sure of a good start in the competition.
Starlets had, however, a boost in the striking force with the return of Neddy Atieno and Mwanahalima Adam who missed the AWCON finals.
Atieno was at the military training while Adam was sitting for her KCPE exams.
With custodian Vivian Akinyi missing from the squad following an injury, it was a great moment for Jeniffer Adhiambo who was given her maiden appearance between the sticks.
Lucy Mukhwana, Pauline Musungu and Juliet Auma were also given their debuts.
Starlets started the match on a high making some attacks in the opening five minutes with Phoebe Oketch and Lucy Mukhwana missing clear opportunities.
Four minutes later, Starlets conceded a free kick outside the area with Lucia Leila’s shot going past Jeniffer Adhiambo for the opener.
Kenya had their first corner of the match but it was well defended in the 13th minute.
Five minutes later, a lone effort from Neddy Atieno made matters level.
Dorcas Shikobe would have added a second for Kenya but her header went wide from a Wendy Achieng cross.
Kenya missed a couple of chances with Atieno coming close in the 25th minute.
Mwanahalima could have changed the score in the 35th minute but her long range shot went wide.
Wendy Achieng missed an opportunity to stretch the lead with two minutes to the break but her shot went straight into Azzumuni Linke’s hands. The teams went to the break with a 1-1 scoreline.
Leila completed her brace in the 46th minute with Kenya coming from behind with Atieno, Phoebe Oketch and Mwanahalima Adam wrapping it up.