Nairobi — Striker Mwanahalima ‘Dogo’ Adam played a crucial role in 2016, as Kenya qualified for the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON) for the very first time, but the pint-sized forward was not able to play at the tournament staged in Ghana, as she sat for her Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exams.
Just like the Biblical story of Moses who waded through the desert with the children of Israel for 40 years but never saw the promised land, ‘Dogo’ only watched from a distance as her teammates played in Kenya’s first ever WAFCON.
And, seven years down the line, now playing professional football in Turkey, the Mombasa-bred striker harbors the same ambition with Kenya taking on Botswana in the final round of qualification.
Didn’t know what WAFCON feels like
“I was in school doing KCSE. I had fought so much with the team to achieve the ticket but I never even saw what WAFCON felt like. This time, I have another chance and personally, I want to fight for the team so that we qualify and I also have that feeling,” she noted.
Adam added; “It would mean a lot to me if we qualified. It is an ambition and a target and I am ready to work double hard than I did in 2016 to help the team qualify.”
Kenya faces an even tougher route for qualification this time round. After edging out Cameroon on penalties, where Adam scored one of Kenya’s five successful conversions, they face a tough Botswana side for the final hurdle.
Adam says the team is unfazed at the prospect of facing the Southern Africans, and reiterates they will be keen to finish the job at home to make the return tie’s burden lighter.
Tough game against Botswana
“It will be a tough game for sure. Botswana know we knocked out Cameroon and that means we are not an easy team. Our mentality has to be precise and our focus sharp. We will give our all in the 90 minutes on the pitch,” she said.
Dogo adds; “We want to score many goals at home so that we can go away and enjoy the football.”
She adds that pressure will always be there on the national team, but notes they are dealing with it and will approach the match with a relaxed mind, focused to give their best and win.