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Neddy Atieno: Four of my best matches for Harambee Starlets

Neddy Atieno: Four of my best matches for Harambee Starlets

By Agnes Amondi,

Former Kenyan international Neddy Atieno is a player that fans of the women’s national team Harambee Starlets will know all too well.

From her trademark speedy runs down the wings to her firing touch in front of goal, she has produced some very memorable moments dorning the Kenya colours. 

With a combined 23 caps, five in her junior years and 18 in the senior team and a total goal tally of 12, Atieno has savoured some memorable moments from her international career. 

She picked out four of her highlight matches that tops the list.

U20 Women’s World Cup 2012: Kenya vs Zambia

Harambee Starlets had a job on their hands ahead of the return leg at home after Zambia edged them with a slender 2-1 scoreline in Lusaka. 

Neddy Atieno knew all too well the enormity of the task. It was a World Cup qualifier after all. She had scored Kenya’s only goal away and the country would need her feet to be firing.

Like they say, it is in such games that the “stars” need to align. And for the Florence Adhiambo led side, they did.

At the Nyayo National Stadium, Kenya scored four unanswered goals and stunned the She-polopolo to sail through the second round of qualifiers.

Atieno played a vital role as she led the lines. With her marauding runs on the left, she produced a beautiful solo efforted goal in the first minute of stoppage time to increase the score to three. 

She picked the ball almost at the halfway mark, pressed forward relentlessly against multiple markers and released a fierce shot that lobbed the Zambian goalie to the utmost delight of the Kenyan fans. 

Starlets went on to play Tunisia in the next round where they failed to progress.

2016 Women’s Cup of Nations Qualifiers: Kenya vs Algeria

 This is a tie that features so prominently in Kenya’s football history books. A match that delivered the nations first ever appearance at the continental stage. A moment of celebration preceded by that of intense anxiety. 

As David Ouma led his charges out at the Moi International Sports Centre Kasarani, permutations had it that they had to record either a draw or a win after first leg 2-2 draw in Algiers.

The ever dependable forward Neddy Atieno played the full 90 minutes, deployed in an attacking position.

Her trademark flair produced down the left as she proved to be a handful for the Le Fennecs defence. 

One of her tireless runs gifted Kenya its brightest moment as they earned a freekick just at the edge of the 18 yard box.

It was beautifully teed up by Christine Nafula and finished from a Cherish Avilla’s outboot to the uproar of the stadium. 

She was involved in a number of challenges as well throughout the match that resulted in setpieces that were unsuccessfully executed.

Neddy was not part of AWCON team in Cameroon as she went for military training.

2016 CECAFA SemiFinals: Kenya vs Ethiopia

The now Ulinzi Starlets attached player netted a brace to edge past Ethiopia after a blasting start from the Meseret Manni coached side. Kenya had gone a goal down after only 12 minutes and also went to the break on the same scoreline.

But, Neddy came to the rescue. A 52nd minute trademark goal, launched from the midfield and finished with a low shot, the game was tied at 1-1. 
It only took an additional 12 minutes for the charged striker to double the lead.

A sitter dispatched from a sumptuous Esse Akida cross. She recorded her fourth goal in five matches.

Kenya went on to win the game 3-2 and progress to the final where Tanzania won the regional gong. 

Neddy’s impact was evident as she scored a crucial equaliser and gave Starlets a lead that they held on.

2017 COSAFA Women’s Champions: Kenya vs Mozambique

Named player of the match in Kenya’s first COSAFA appearance as a guest nation, Neddy helped the team overturn a one goal deficit to win 5-2.

Nine minutes in, Kenya were a goal down. Like the soldier she is, a fight was on. For a player that’s well built with strength and power, she outmuscled two of her markers to slot in an equaliser in the 23rd minute.

The narrative repeated itself in the second half. A Mozambique goal followed by a Neddy leveller. And the match went on. 

In the closing moments of the match, Kenya produced six insane minutes that completely sunk the opponents. Need not to mention that the forward was involved.

A weighty pass in the 86th minute from skipper Wendy Achieng was well cautioned by the number nine before she released a venomous shot to the bottom right corner to complete a hat-trick.

This was sandwiched by Mwanahalima Adam and Phoeby Owiti goals.

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