Bright Starlets coach Booysen dares CECAFA opponents

Bright Starlets coach Booysen dares CECAFA opponents
Bright Starlets head coach Shilene Booysen shouting instruction to her players during a training session at Buluk Playground [Photo: SSFA]

South Sudan may have landed in pool of death in the forthcoming CECAFA Senior Women’s Championship, but Coach Shilene Booysen is upbeat that Bright Starlets could pull a surprise at the regional tourney set to be stage din Kampala, Uganda.

Starlets are in the same pool as Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Zanzibar. But despite having about seven month before she runs out of contract, the former Banyana Banyana Performance Analyst says that the national women’s team has made significant progress.

Booysen penned down a two-year contract in February 2019. The contract will expire early 2023. 

But before that, the South African has her work cut out.

Even though Bright Star goes to the tourney as the underdog, Booysen believes that the girls can actually pull a surprise. 

“It is not going to be an easy one,” cautioned the tactician.

“We are going out there to give our best and do what we can to make our fans smile. But at the end of the day, we want to win,” said a daring Booysen.

While she admits that her squad is a rough diamond in the making, Booysen is optimistic Starlets will put on a better show than the one they had in 2019, the last time this tournament was held.

“We have to be realistic that we are not as experienced as the teams we are going to play against, but if we can shock a few nations, why not. I think we need to be patient as we build on. Once we get the confident, we are definitely going to be one of the strongest teams in the CECAFA region,” Booysen told The City Review.

She, however, advises fans to be patient and not to be excessively inspired by high expectations.

“Fans must understand that we are still in the rebuilding process. We must inculcate the winning mentality in them.

However, she acknowledged her delight at the progress even as she calls for more support from fans.

“Whenever we step on the pitch, our intention is always to present South Sudan to the best of our ability. That is what we want to do in CECAFA.”

She stated that playing against complete teams such as Ethiopia, the top ranked CECAFA team, and Tanzania – ranked third in the region, will be an uphill task.

The competition was scheduled to begin on May 22, but was pushed forward to June 1, 2022.

The eight teams have confirmed participation in the regional CECAFA Women’s Championship.

Uganda will host the Championship at the FUFA technical centre in Njeru between May 22nd and June 5th.

Yussuf Mossi, the CECAFA Competitions Director confirmed that eight teams have confirmed participation in the tournament which will also be the first on the CECAFA calendar for 2022.

“We have received confirmation from eight teams that beat the registration deadline last week. We are now planning to have the draw in a few days,” revealed Mossi.

Kenya who beat the Kilimanjaro Queens of Tanzania 2-0 in the final in 2019 when the tournament was last held will not defend their title. Kenya is among the members suspended by FIFA.

“We are confident that this tournament will be very competitive and will also give our two representatives in the TotalEnergies Women’s Africa Cup of Nations Burundi and Uganda to prepare well and get more match practice,” explained Mossi.

During an interview CECAFA President, Wallace Karia also made it clear that as a regional body they have planned well the tournaments for the 2022 season.

“We have decided to start with a women’s tournament since the Women’s AFCON will also take place in Morocco in July,” added Karia.

The national teams that will take part in the CECAFA Women’s Championship 2022 include hosts Uganda, Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Tanzania, Rwanda and Zanzibar.

Travelling Squad

Goalkeepers: Tutu Khalda Hassan, Magret Goya Lino, Nawal Isaac Henri.

Defenders: Bandos Amadrio Filder, Sumaya Molili Taban, Dorka Gerald Lokeri, Amomo Issa Oliver, Annet Adebo Vita, Esther Kide Kute, Roba Ester Luis.

Midfielders: Makunga Maurine Amos, Chiang Thmas Manyol, Mariam Luis Johnson, Apayi Hatima Robert, Pani Esther Mercy, Diana Padoni Paul, Mary Dawa Marko, Amy Lasu Lauya.

Forwards: Josephine Nyibol Makuei, Deborah Stephenluka, Stella Nyoka Chaplan, Sarah Aparo Charles, Mary Anger Kuach.