FIFA U17 WORLD CUP Kenya’s Junior Starlets on verge of history after demolishing Burundi

Kenya’s Junior Starlets stayed on course to write history after beating Burundi 3-0 in their first leg fixture of the 2024 FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup at the Abebe Bikila Stadium in Ethiopia on Sunday.

The Junior Starlets under coach Mildred Cheche went into the offensive from the first whistle and strolled to the emphatic victory courtesy of goals from Lorna Faith, Marion Serenge and substitute Susan Akoth to claim a crucial advantage heading into the return leg in Nairobi.

Cheche retained goalkeeper Velma Abwire between the posts, with the backline from the last round against Ethiopia, formed by captain Elizabeth Ochaka, Christine Adhiambo, Kimberly Akinyi, and Lorine Ilavonga getting the nod to start.

In the midfield, Velma Awuor, Halima Imbachi, Rebecca Odato, and Lorna Faith took charge while the attacking force revolved around Marion Serenge and Quinter Adhiambo.

Kenya looked the more dangerous from the first whistle and they almost took the lead with only four minutes played when Adhiambo latched onto a cross from Serenge, who was unmarked inside the Burundi danger zone but her final delivery went inches wide.

The Junior Starlets continued to pound their opponents with relentless attacks and five minutes later another good opportunity fell into the legs of Rebecca Odato but after controlling the ball calmly using her chest, she misqued her right-footed effort wide.

However, Kenya’s persistent attacks finally paid off in the 11th minute when Faith found the breakthrough. A through ball from Kimberly Akinyi, found Lorine Ilavonga, and the player weaved past three Burundian players before laying a neat pass to Faith, who turned quickly before planting the ball into the back of the net.

The goal galvanized the Kenyan girls and they upped their momentum. They almost doubled their lead in the 34th minute, these time Faith laying a cross to the unmarked Adhiambo but her beautifully taken shot from outside the box rattled the woodwork before going out for a goal-kick.

In the 43rd minute, Kenya doubled their lead when Serenge finished off a cross from Adhiambo. A move started from the middle of play by captain Elizabeth Ochaka found Velma Awuor, who in turn set up Serenge to finish off with a powerful shot.

Despite Kenya being the most dominant side, the game went into the half-time with the 2-0 scoreline. On resumption, it was all Kenya once again playing with urgency and need for more goals.

Ochaka was the first to miss a sitter, a corner from Awuor finding her at the far post, but her weak effort from a rebound could not trouble the Burundian goalkeeper.

Dennis Mabuka

Dennis Mabuka is a seasoned Kenyan journalist with 18 years of experience covering sports events. He is currently a sport content creator with

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