The Kenyan Under-23 team, Emerging Stars, on Wednesday departed for Ethiopia’s Northern City of Bahir Dar ahead of the upcoming CECAFA U23 Championships set to kick off on Sunday, July 18.
Kenya were on Tuesday pooled in Group C alongside South Sudan and Djibouti and headcoach Stanley Okumbi has exuded confidence that the team will do well in the regional tourney.
Emerging Stars will play their first match of the tournament against Djibouti on Monday, July 19.
“We are ready for the games after preparing well in recent weeks. Our focus remains the same, to win the title,” Okumbi said.
Group A is comprised of defending champions Uganda, Tanzania, and DR Congo while Group B will have hosts Ethiopia, Burundi, and Eritrea.
The top teams in each of the three groups will proceed to the tournament’s semi-finals, alongside one best runners up.
The notable stars in Okumbi’s squad are Gor Mahia striker Benson Omalla, Kisumu All Stars striker Alfred Tanui, Ken Wanyonyi of Bungoma Super Stars and Tusker leading goal poacher Henry Meja.
Wazito defender Bernard Ochieng’ will captain the team which will be expecting National Super League star striker Tanui who has 12 goals for Otenga and Meja who has scored 10 times for Tusker in the FKF Premier League to transform their form to the regional gong.
Caleb Omondi (Gor Mahia), Brian Bwire (Kariobangi Sharks)
Sylvester Owino (Kakamega Homeboyz), Bernard Ochieng (Wazito FC), Frank Odhiambo (Gor Maha), Lewis Bandi (AFC Leopards), Bonface Mwangemi (Kariobangi Sharks), Fredrick Alushula (Kariobangi Sharks), Brian Wepo (KCB FC).
Yidah Sven (Nairobi City Stars), Marvin Nabwire (AFC Leopards), Vincent Wasambo (KCB FC), Austine Odhiambo (AFC Leopards), Regean Otieno (KCB FC), Oliver Maloba (Nairobi City Stars), Josphat Lopaga (Posta Rangers), Steiner Musasia (Posta Rangers), John Njuguna (Ulinzi Stars), Boniface Muchiri (Tusker FC), David Odhiambo (Kakamega Homeboyz)
Benson Ochieng (Gor Mahia), Henry Atola (Tusker), Alfred Tanui (Kisumu All Stars)
Group A: Uganda, Tanzania, DR Congo
Group B: Ethiopia (hosts), Burundi, Eritrea
Group C: Djibouti, South Sudan, Kenya
CECAFA U23 Championships
Uganda vs DR Congo (Sunday, July 18, 2021, Ethiopia)
Ethiopia vs Eritrea (Sunday, July 18, 2021, Ethiopia)
Djibouti vs Kenya (Monday, July 19, 2021, Ethiopia)
Burundi vs Eritrea (Wednesday, July 21, 2021, Ethiopia)
South Sudan vs Kenya (Thursday, July 22, 2021, Ethiopia)
Tanzania vs DR Congo (Thursday, July 22, 2021, Ethiopia)
Ethiopia vs Burundi (Saturday, July 24, 2021, Ethiopia)
Djibouti vs South Sudan (Sunday, July 25, 2021, Ethiopia)
Uganda vs Tanzania (Sunday, July 25, 2021, Ethiopia)
Winner Group A vs Best runner up (Wednesday, July 28, 2021, Ethiopia)
Winner Group B vs Winner Group C (Wednesday, July 28, 2021, Ethiopia)
Third place Playoff (Friday, July 30, 2021, Ethiopia)
Final (Friday, July 30, 2021, Ethiopia)