Kenya Qualifies for FIFA World Cup, Make History


Kenya’s U17 women’s national football team – Junior Starlets – made history by booking a place in this year’s FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup.

Kenya beat fellow East African rivals Burundi 2-0 in the final round of qualifiers played at a packed Ulinzi Sports Complex, Nairobi on Sunday afternoon to reach the World Cup on a 5-0 goal aggregate.

Marion Serenge and Valerie Nekesa both got in the scoresheet to write their names in Kenya’s football folklore to break the jinx and write history as the first ever Kenyan side to reach a FIFA World Cup at any level.

Serenge, who was also on target in the first-leg away in Ethiopia, capitalized off an error from Burundi goalkeeper Solange Marinakiza to tap home after 16 minutes, setting up the cue for what was going to be a largely entertaining afternoon.

Junior Starlets coached by Mildrerd Cheche joins Nigeria and Zambia as the three African representatives at the big stage tournament to the 2024 FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup that will be staged in October in the Dominican Republic.

Nigeria stunned Liberia 4-1, while Zambia sailed through following a 3-1 victory against Morocco.

Kenya began their journey to the global tournament with a 2-0 win over the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the second round of the qualifying campaign.

In the third round, the magnificent team humbled CECAFA neighbors Ethiopia 3-0 on aggregate, having played for a goalless draw in Addis Ababa in the first leg.

Having closed on qualification, Junior Starlets was beaming with optimism and had to finish the business against Burundi, which they did in style, beating them 3-0 on the road and capping the celebrations with another resounding 2-0 show on home soil to send the fans into a frenzy.

The Junior Starlets technical bench will pride itself on having managed to keep a clean sheet in all four matches of the journey, scoring eight goals in the process.

WC participants

Other teams that that will take part in the U17 World Cup includes Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic (host country), Ecuador, England, Japan, Korea DPR, Korea Republic, Mexico, New Zealand, Poland, Spain, and USA.

The tournament will run from October 16 to November 3, with matches being staged in the cities of Santiago de los Caballeros and Santo Domingo.

Junior Starlets line up against Burundi:

Starting XI: Velma Auma (GK), Kimberly Akinyi, Susan Akoth, Lorine Ilavonga, Elizabeth Ochaka, Rebecca Odato, Velma Awour, Christine Adhiambo, Lorna Faith, Valerie Nekesa, and Marion Serenge.

Subs: Ephy Awour, Shyril Atieno, Claire Meris, Mitchel Jenevive, Quinter Adhiambo, Linday Atieno, Halima Imbachi, Mitchell Waithera, Joan Ogola, and Diana Onyango

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