The quest for Kenyan football to qualify for a first-ever Olympics is on with the national Under- 23 christened the ‘Emerging Stars’ jetting out to Khartoum ahead of their Africa Cup of Nations-cum-Olympics Qualifier against Sudan tomorrow.
This match comes after Kenya made light work of Mauritius in the first round and consequently booked a date with Sudan in the second. Coach Francis Kimanzi has expressed optimism that the Emerging Stars will give a good account of themselves in Khartoum.
“We did well against Mauritius and it’s good that we have retained a big part of that squad. The boys are motivated and I am confident we’ll get a positive result,” said Emerging Stars Coach Kimanzi.
Senior international player Ovella Ochieng who turns out for Swedish side, Vasalunds as well as lanky defender Joseph Okumu of Real Monarchs in the USA, have been drafted into the side to bring in their international experience though, they both remain very much within the age limit.
Little-known Alwyn Tera, who turns out for Georgian side Saburtalo is one of the only three foreign-based players in the squad alongside Ovella and Okumu. The second leg of this contest is set to be played on March 26 at the Moi International Sports Centre (MISC), Kasarani.
The winner on aggregate will face either of Nigeria or Libya in the third round to determine who graces the 2019 Africa U-23 Cup of Nations in Egypt, which will act as a qualifier to the 2020 Summer Olympics in Japan.
Traveling Squad: Goalkeepers—Timothy Odhiambo (Ulinzi Stars), Brian Bwire (Kariobangi Sharks); Defenders: Mike Kibwage (KCB), Johnstone Omurwa (Mathare United), David Owino (Mathare United), Yusuf Mainge (Leopards), Joseph Okumu (Real Monarchs, USA), Boniface Onyango (Sharks), Moses Mudavadi (Bandari): Midfielders: Teddy Osok (Wazito), Tobias Otieno (Sony Sugar), Ibrahim Shambi (Ulinzi Stars), James Mazembe (Kariobangi Sharks), Alwyn Tera (FC Saburtalo, Georgia), Peter Thiongo (Homeboyz), Curtis Wekesa (Nairobi Stima) and Sven Yidah (Kariobangi Sharks); Forwards: Boniface Mukhekhe (Mt. Kenya United), Ovella Ochieng (Vasalund FC, Sweden), Sydney Lokale (Sharks), Jafari Owiti (Leopards) and John Avire (Sofapaka).