CECAFA: Challenging times for Yei Joint Stars ahead Tanzania trip

CECAFA: Challenging times for Yei Joint Stars ahead Tanzania trip
Yei Joint Stars players having a pep-talk at Juba University Grounds. [Photo: Alex Bullen]

Yei Joint Stars – the South Sudan’s sole representative at this year’s Women’s CECAFA Club Championship is a team in distress.

The girls are facing a myriad of challenges that could dent a big blow to their ​​second stab at the inter-club regional tourney.

Apart from perennial financial muscle strains, the Yei-based side is also battling quorum hitches and a depleted technical bench.

A planned visit to Tanzania could hit obstacles should they fail to pull up resources for the championship. On the line is a chance of penning history and maybe a dip in overall performance only on their second stab at the championship.

With just eight days remaining before the ‘Super Queens’ embark on a trip to Dar es Salaam, more than six players are yet to link up with the rest of the squad.

Even worse, head coach Sony Harriet is down with illness, while her assistant is taking a CAF licence course in Uganda.

The 13 players who turned up for training on Tuesday at Juba University grounds, are being taken through their paces by volunteer trainers.

To date, even Rahima Cosmos, the interim captain, still has no idea when the rest of her team mates – some who are held-up in Uganda due to lack of bus fare, will be reporting to camp. Others are Yei Town.

Cosmos says that some absentees need bus fare as low as SSP7, 000 if they are to link up with the rest of the squad.

“It is now two weeks since we started the training. It is going well, but most of our colleagues are yet to join us, including even the team captain,” Cosmos told The City Review.

“I believe they will still join us so that we finish these few days of training together, which is the only way for us to perform our best,” she added.

The players who are expected to join the team include their central midfielder Mary Dawa, captain Morine Makunga, Unis Kelega, Poni Easter and goalkeeper Kawa Anet.

It is not clear whether head coach Harriet will recover in time to travel with the team.

Taban Sebit, one of the people who has been supporting the team, is worried about the future of the team.

“You cannot imagine today that the majority of the key players are not yet in the team, which is very dangerous for a team that is aiming to achieve something.”

“Although we are hearing that the competition is pushed some five days ahead, this will still not be enough for the team to cope with the rest of the team,” he added.

Tanzania will host the CECAFA Women’s Champions League 2022 from July 28th to August 10th in Arusha.

Yei Joint Star will face seven other teams including; She Corporate FC (Uganda), Simba Queens (Tanzania), Warrior Queens (Zanzibar), Fofila PF (Burundi), AS Kigali Women’s FC (Rwanda), GRFC (Djibouti), Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (Ethiopia).

Kenya (defending champions) will not send a representative. The country is under FIFA suspension over leadership wrangles.

The CECAFA Women’s Championship, is a football tournament organized by the Council for East and Central Africa Football Associations (CECAFA).