Local football governing body, Football Kenya Federation (FKF), has opened talks with the Ministry of Defence in an attempt to allow dependable striker Neddy Atieno to participate in the upcoming Africa Women’s Cup of Nations (AWCON), before she joins the military.
Atieno has left the women’s national team Harambee Starlets with a mini-crisis after she opted to join the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) at a time she was hitting the heights in her football career.
The 24-year-old played a key role in helping Starlets secure their maiden appearance at the Africa Women’s Cup of Nations (AWCON) which is scheduled to kick off in Cameroon between 19 November and 3 December 2016. She is among the first names in coach David Ouma’s team sheet and has been traveling the distance with the national team as they build up for the biggest game in their lives.
Atieno, however, has decided to take a career u-turn, terming the opportunity ‘a bird in hand worth two in the bush.’
A winger who can also play in the center forward position, Atieno is one of a few women players in the country to have plied their trade abroad despite her stint with Nigeria Women Football League (NWFL) side Sunshine Queens being short.
She is expected to report for military training immediately.
She played the full 90 minutes last weekend as Kenya went down 1-0 to Cameroon in an international friendly at the Kasarani Stadium, and was expected to lead the team in another pre-AWCON build up match against North African side Egypt this Friday.
FKF president Nick Mwendwa said they had ‘written to KDF to see if they’ll release her (Atieno).” Mwendwa however added that should that not happen, they will travel to West Africa without the former U20 captain.
Kenya were drawn in Pool B alongside record champions Nigeria and their West Africa neighbours Mali and Ghana.
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