The Kenya Under-17 team jetted out to Dar-es-salaam, Tanzania yesterday for the upcoming 2019 Africa U-17 Cup of Nations Cecafa region qualifying tournament.
Coach Michael Amenga is optimistic they will do well as they bid to qualify for the African Cup of Nations for the first time ever. “The youngsters have shown they have what it takes to do well in the tournament and win a place in the African Junior Championships. We have given them the necessary training and environment to do well and hopefully, they will now go on and deliver the goods for themselves and their countrymen,” offered Amenga ahead of the teams departure.
The coach said there has been an improvement in the team since they hit camp on July 26 in Nairobi.
“There has been steady improvement in the team both physically and tactically,” said the coach. The juniors played selected friendly matches losing to top-flight side Posta Rangers last week and had earlier on shared the spoils with the Gor Mahia Youth team before edging out Acakoro 2-1.
“With the adequate preparations we have had, I am confident we can post positive results at the Afcon qualifiers and better our performance at the Cecafa U-17 Championships in Burundi,” he added.
The tourney, set to kick off on Saturday and end on Thursday next week, will determine which team from the Cecafa region takes part in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
Kenya has been pooled in Group ‘B’ alongside Uganda, Ethiopia, South Sudan, and Djibouti. Group ‘A’ comprises of hosts Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Somalia and Sudan. The Junior Stars will face South Sudan in their opening match of the tourney on August 14 at the National Stadium in Tanzania.
The winner of the tournament will gain qualification to the 2019 Africa U17 Cup of Nations in Tanzania alongside the hosts who qualify automatically. The second best team could also make it to the tourney in case Tanzania emerges champions.
Squad—Goalkeepers: Maxwell Muilili, Bixente Lazarazu, Brian Olang’o; Defenders: Telvin Maina, Arnold Onyango, Francis Kayugi, Alphonse Omija, Oscar Kamori, Richdonald Bolo, Tony Castro Odhiambo; Midfielders: Saidi Musa, Felix Chabaya, Nicholas Omondi, Lesley Otieno, Hussein Abdulmalik, Keith Imbali;Forwards: Mathew Mwendwa and Ezekiel Mogendi.