National hockey team player Pauline Naise during a past training session. PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Hockey star turned footballer Pauline Naise joins Harambee Starlets camp

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National hockey team star Pauline Naise is among the 24 players that reported to the Harambee Starlets training camp on Friday at the Safaricom Stadium, Kasarani. Naise has featured for both the junior and senior national hockey teams in a number of international assignments.

She last featured for the national hockey team in February 2015 during the World League Two series in Uruguay before taking a break from the sport at the end of last season after leading her club USIU Spartans to a fourth place finish in the league.

The midfielder, who features for Football Kenya Federation Women’s Premier League side Vihiga Leeds, was among the four new players that have been called up to the team that is preparing to make a debut in the African Women’s Cup of Nations next month in Cameroon.

The others are striker Janet Bundi of Women Premier League (WPL) Zone B side Nyamira County Starlets, Soccer Queens’ Esther Nyandika and Bertha Omita – who turns out for WPL Zone B side Oserian.

REMAINED OPTIMISTIC

Speaking to Daily Nation Sport from Kasarani, Naise expressed delight at having earned her first call up to the national team. Naise remained optimistic of making the team for the Morocco friendly match as well as the Africa Women’s Cup of Nations finals in Cameroon.

“I did not expect to be called for this duty but I am so happy that after so many years, the coach has seen it fit to call me. I like to play hockey but football is my first love,” the 22-year-old midfielder said.  “This is my first time here and I am still unsure of whether I will make it to the tournament so I just want to put up a convincing performance during training.”

Starlets have a busy schedule in the next few weeks, as they have three friendly matches lined up ahead of the continental showpiece. Starlets will play Morocco away in Marrakech on October 16, before hosting Cameroon (October 22) and Egypt (October 28). At the continental showpiece, Starlets have been drawn in a tough Group B which also has Mali, Ghana and defending champions Nigeria.

PROVISIONAL SQUAD

Jacky Ogol, Enez Mango, Vivian Corazon, Jackeline Akoth, Purity Nyongesa, Samantha Akinyi, Vivian Akinyi, Lilian Awuor, Ann Aluoch, Wendy Achieng, Elizabeth Ambogo, Christine Nafula, Irene Ogutu, Cherise Avilia, Dorcas Shikobe, Caroline Anyango, Neddy Atieno, Esse Akida, Dorcas Anyango, Mary Kinuthia, Esther Nandika, Pauline Naise, Bertha Adhiambo, Janet Bundi.

Source: Daily Nation | Date: Friday October 7 2016