Home SPORTS The Standard – Kenya: I am just getting started – Starlets star Shikangwa says Kenyans yet to see her best | The Standard

The Standard – Kenya: I am just getting started – Starlets star Shikangwa says Kenyans yet to see her best | The Standard

by biasharadigest
Harambee Starlets U-20 forward Jentrix Shikangwa celebrates scoring against Ethiopia during their U20 Women World Cup qualifier return leg match at Kenyatta stadium in Machakos on September 30, 2017. Starlets U-20 won 2-1 to qualify for the second round against Ghana. Photo [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

Vihiga Queens striker is a Form Four student at Wiyeta Girls and was voted the Most Promising Player at 2019 Soya Awards.

When Harambee Starlets were crowned last year’s Cecafa Senior Women’s Challenge Cup champions, one name stood out, Jentrix Shikangwa.

The 18-year-old scored 10 goals including two in the finals to finish as the tournament’s top scorer and help Kenya win her maiden regional gong in Tanzania.

“Nothing beats the feeling of winning a major tournament with the national team. Emerging as the top scorer and winning Cecafa with Starlets was my most treasured moment in my career,” said the Form Four student.

She was voted the Most Promising Player in the 2019 Safaricom Sports Personality of the Year Awards (Soya) after her heroics in Cecafa and the Kenya Women’s Premier League.

The Vihiga Queens striker, however, believes Kenya is yet to see the best of her, saying she believes she can do even better.

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“Winning Soya award at 17 years! I did not see that coming. It is a sign of how good I can be.

“I am just getting started. The national team has undergone some transition and with the current team, we can do anything we want if we train well, work hard and focus. I believe I can do more and win many international titles with Harambee Starlets,” she said.

“I believe I can score goals. My confidence is high now especially after my 10 goal at Cecafa which keeps me motivated every time I get onto to the pitch.”

Raised in a family of footballers, Shikangwa started playing football in 2014 while in Class Six at Shipalo Primary School having being inspired by her elder sister and former Harambee Starlets defender Jackline Ashitsa.

“Every time my sister would go to train I would follow her. I loved watching her play and when she made it to the national team, I wanted to be like her,” said Shikangwa whose brother Derrick Anami plays for KPL side Zoo Kericho.

She went on to represent the school at the Kenya Primary Schools national games in 2014 where they were knocked out at the regional level.

She did not give up and the following year she made it to the national games where she finished as the top goal scorer for two consecutive years in 2015 and 2016.

Shikangwa would then join Wiyeta Girls in 2017, the same year she inspired them to both national and East Africa glory.

“I went straight to the senior school team while in Form One. It was my first time to play at an intense level and I cherish the moment we won the East Africa award for Kenya,” she said.

She also made her national team debut in the same year after being called up to the national Under 20 team for 2018 Fifa World Cup qualifiers together with Wiyeta Girls schoolmates Martha Amunyolete, Maureen Khakasa, Leah Cherotich and Dianah Tembesi.

In 2018, aged 16, Shikangwa scored in her senior national debut in a friendly match against Ethiopia (though she did not make the cut to the Africa Women Cup of Nations team) before going on to guide Starlets to Cecafa title last year.

Prior to Cecafa, Shikangwa had scored the solitary goal in the return leg of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games third round qualifier as Kenya bundled out Black Queens of Ghana 3-2 on aggregate in October.

This year, Shikangwa says her dream is to guide Kenya to the 2020 Africa Women’s Cup of Nations scheduled for November.

“My priority is to help the national team qualify for Awcon. We want to get there and despite the Covid-19 pandemic, we are keeping in touch as a team following up on individual training routines to keep fit,” she said.

The Form Four candidate who is preparing to sit her Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education exams hopes to one day play in Europe.

“Simba (Tanzania side) have been in contact with me since last year monitoring my progress. They are a great club but I have not made the decision yet. My focus now is school work.”

“However, an opportunity to play in Europe, especially Spain will be my biggest wish,” she said.

Alex Alumira, Shikangwa’s coach at Vihiga Queens hailed her noting that the future is bright for the youngster.

“Jentrix is a gem. Every time she has the ball opponents are always in danger. Her hunger for goals is remarkable and I believe she is the future of Harambee Starlets,” said Alumira.

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