Juniors all set

Junior Stars ready for battle in the Cecafa U-15 Championships

In Summary

•Kenya needs at least one win to sail through to the quarter finals as one of the best three sides from pool A.

•We have a good team that trains regularly in a world class facility, under a home schooling programme which gives us and advantage.

Kenya Under 15 captain James Gachago during training with team mate Mike Churchill at Wadidegla club
Kenya Under 15 captain James Gachago during training with team mate Mike Churchill at Wadidegla club

Kenya Under- 15 football team head coach  Sugar Lakhan is confident the juniors will go past the group stage in the Cecafa U15 Championships set for  August 16 to September 1 in Asmara, Eritrea.

Lakhan, who took the boys through their paces in their last training yesterday at the Wadi Degla Sports Club in Runda, believes they have prepared well and are ready for the challenges ahead. The juniors are in Group 'A' alongside hosts Eritrea, Somalia and Burundi.

The tactician is confident of going past the preliminaries. “I know very little about our opponents but I know my strengths, so we have to play the ball, attack, score goals while sticking to our game plan and do adjustments when necessary," said  Lakhan.

"We have a fully fit team that trains regularly at a world-class facility under a homeschooling programme in Nairobi, which gives us an advantage since they know each other well," he added. 

Kenya need at least one win to sail through to the quarter-finals as one of the best three sides from Pool A.

“We are going to compete in the tournament, but I expect my players to learn more, get to know our strength and weaknesses as a build-up for future tournaments. I also want my players to enjoy the game so that they can play together at a higher level for long,” said the assistant coach Edwin Nandwa.

Team captain James Gchago, who can play at either defence or midfield exuded confidence and believes they will use lessons learnt from their trip to Spain in May in their first major tournament.

“Being our first major tournament,  we want to learn more and handle opponents as they come while sticking to the coach’s game plan,” said Gachogo.

The team will miss the services of dependable goalkeeper Ibrahim Wanjala, whose travel document had an error that was detected late leading to his exclusion.

However, former Gor Mahia and Kenyan international goalkeeper Jerim Onyango who trains the shot-stoppers believes Alvin Odari who emerged as one of the best keepers in Spain and Kennedy Okoth will do a good job.

We have polished our set-pieces, defending and ball distribution which was one of our weaknesses and I am confident in their abilities.

Pool B, which is seen as the group of death has Uganda, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Rwanda while Pool 'C' comprises of Tanzania Djibouti and Sudan. Top three teams in Pool A and B will automatically qualify for the quarter-finals and will be joined by top two teams in Pool C. The team that leaves for Asmara, tomorrow (Tuesday) at 2 pm.

Full  team to Eritrea: Zein Mwakitawa, Joseph Munala, -Andrew Waliaula,  Kevin Wangaya, Brian Osoro, Teddy Sirma, Alvin Kasavuli, James Gachago, -Mike Churchill, Rajab Umar, Gil Harel 9-Karl Murugu, Ibrahim Mone and Robby