Rising Stars captain Benson Omala (right) warming up before a past match. [Courtsey]

The national U23 football team, the Emerging Stars, on Monday entered their first day of residential training ahead of the 2021 CECAFA Senior Championships in Ethiopia.

Previously, the tourney featured senior players but with the new format, the tournament has now been reserved for U23 players with an allowance of only three senior players.

The tournament will be held in Bahir town from July 3 to July 18.

Emerging Stars Head Coach Stanley Okumbi expressed his gratitude towards coaches and clubs who agreed to release their best players for national team duty despite their busy schedules.

“We are missing a couple of players who are active for their clubs in the FKF Leagues, hopefully, we will have a full house by the time we travel to Ethiopia. We still stand a chance, nonetheless. We are not there yet but I’m confident the players we have at our disposal are up to the task,” said Coach Okumbi.

Okumbi named a strong provisional squad for the upcoming regional championship.

Gor Mahia striker Benson Omalla, who recently terminated his loan deal with Swedish third-tier side Linkoping City, will be leading the attack alongside Kisumu All-Stars striker and current National Super League top scorer Alfred Tanui.

Tanui,19, tops the NSL scoring chart with 12 goals having scored eight in four consecutive matches since the resumption of the league on May 14.

Ken Wanyonyi of Bungoma Super Stars, which reached the last 16 of the Football Kenya Federation Betway Cup, has also received a call up in the 32-man squad.

AFC Leopards midfielder Peter Thiong’o, Nzoia Sugar youngster Daniel Musamali and Gor Mahia third-choice goalkeeper Caleb Otieno have also been named.

Other participants apart from Kenya and Ethiopia are Uganda, Eritrea, Djibouti, Sudan, South Sudan, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Burundi, Rwanda, and Somalia.

Squad

Goalkeepers

Brian Bwire (Kariobangi Sharks), Caleb Otieno (Gor Mahia), Dolph Junior Owino (Nairobi Stima)

Defenders

Jimmy Ndungi (Tusker), Portipher Odhiambo (Vihiga Bullets), Silvester Owino (Kakamega Homeboyz), Moses Mudavadi (Nzoia), Collins Shichenje (AFC Leopards), Boniface Mwangemi (Kariobangi Sharks), Yussuf Mainge (AFC Leopards), Fredrick Alushula (Kariobangi Sharks), Brian Wepo (KCB)

Midfielders

Joshua Nyatini (Posta Rangers), Marvin Nabwire (AFC Leopards), Sven Yidah (Nairobi City Stars), Vincent Wasambo (KCB), Faraj Ominde (Tusker), Reagan Otieno (KCB), Oliver Maloba (Nairobi City Stars), Peter Thiong’o (AFC Leopards), Francis Mwangi (Mwatate United), Ambrose Sifuna (Sofapaka), Josephat Lopaga (Posta Rangers), Steiner Musasia (Posta Rangers), John Njuguna (Ulinzi Stars), Dennis Musamali (Nzoia Sugar), Elisha Wekesa (Nzoia Sugar)

Forwards

Benson Omalla (Gor Mahia), Henry Meja (Tusker), Sydney Lokale (Kariobangi Sharks), Ken Wanyonyi (Bungoma Superstars) and Alfred Tanui (Kisumu AllStars) 

 

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