Emerging Stars step up preps ahead of CECAFA


Emerging Stars step up preps ahead of CECAFA

In Summary

  • Kenya national team under 23 coach Stanley Okumbi has stated that they are working around the clock to make sure they select a strong squad ahead of the CECAFA championship later this month
  • Speaking after guiding his full squad in their first training exercise at Ruaraka grounds in Nairobi, Okumbi is optimistic that the selected players will give the country best results in the tourney

Kenya national team under 23 coach Stanley Okumbi has stated that they are working around the clock to make sure they select a strong squad ahead of the CECAFA championship later this month.

Speaking after guiding his full squad in their first training exercise at Ruaraka grounds in Nairobi, Okumbi is optimistic that the selected players will give the country best results in the tourney.

“We are a full house at the moment. Our focus now is to condition the team to be ready for the tough but doable tournament in Ethiopia,” said Emerging Stars coach Stanley Okumbi.

Defenders Harun Mwale of Ulinzi Stars, Benard Ochieng of Wazito and striker David Odhiambo of Kakamega Homeboyz are the senior players who will strengthen the emerging stars squad.

On Friday, Emerging Stars is set to learn who they will face in the regional tournament when the draw will be conducted.

The team is then set to tentatively leave for Ethiopia on July 14, 2021, to attend the regional tournament that now kicks off on July 17, 2021.

The Council of East and Central Africa Football Association (CECAFA) had taken the decision to postpone the U-23 Championship by two weeks.

In a statement of postponement released by the CECAFA Executive Director, Auka Gecheo, the tournament slated to take place in Ethiopia will start on 17th July, moving from the initial kickoff date of 3rd July.

“The CECAFA U-23 Championship has been pushed to kick-off July 17th, 2021 in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia. The competition was earlier slated to start July 3rd, 2021,” confirmed the statement.

“The change was necessitated by some of the Member Associations having their countries go into lockdown due to COVID- 19 and is struggling to get government approval to travel to the event.”

South Sudan was also still playing at the Arab FIFA Cup in Qatar, the CECAFA administrators thought it was wise to push the kickoff date by two weeks.

Uganda is the defending Champions after winning the 2019 edition on home soil defeating Eritrea 3-0.

The format of the competition was also changed where players under the age of 23 will participate and only three senior players taking part.

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Story By Luqman Mahmoud
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