UThe Kenya U20 national team, The Rising Stars, has on Saturday, October 31, 2020, checked into camp ahead of the upcoming CECAFA U20 championships.
27 players are set to undergo mandatory Covid-19 tests on Sunday, alongside members of the team’s technical bench, as the team kicks of preparations for the junior regional showpiece.
Coach Stanley Okumbi, however, noted that the door is still open, as he aims to build a team that can surpass a runners-up finish Kenya achieved at last year’s edition in Uganda.
“I have a lot of talent at my disposal. Today is the first day in training and I am happy with what I am seeing from the boys,” said the coach.
“There are some positions we need to fill, however, so that we can have the strongest squad for the tournament. I expect alittle more inclusions and ommissions,” he added.
The Rising Stars have been pooled in Group C of the tournament alongside Ethiopia and Sudan.
Group A is comprised of hosts Tanzania, Rwanda, Somalia, and Djibouti, while Group B will have Burundi, Eritrea, South Sudan, and Uganda.
The top teams in each of the three groups will proceed to the tournament’s semi-finals, alongside one best runner-up. The finalists, meanwhile, are set to earn an automatic slot at the Africa U20 Cup of Nations.
“We have a chance. With the talent at our disposal, I don’t think we have any excuse of not posting positive results. This is our best time (to qualify for the U20 AFCON),” opined coach Okumbi.
The team will play two friendly matches against Sudan on November 2, and November 5, 2020, at the Nyayo National Stadium, before they leave for the tournament, to be played between November 22, and December 6, 2020, in Arusha, Tanzania.
Rising Stars Squad
Maxwell Mulili (AFC Leopards), Bixente Otieno ( Wazito), Elvis Ochieng (City Stars)
Boniface Mwangemi (Kariobangi Sharks), Omar Somobwana (AFC Leopards), Joseph Levin (Naivas), Wardfine Akhatsika (Chebuyusi High School), Kelvin Mose (Uweza), Alphonse Omija (Gor Mahia), Frank Odhiambo (Gor Mahia), Lewis Bandi (AFC Leopards), Fredrick Alushula (Kariobangi Sharks), Rolland Ashimoto (Wazito), Steiner Musasia (Talanta), Nicholas Omondi (Gor Mahia), Keith Imbali (Gor Mahia Youth)
Enoch Wanyama (Ligi Ndogo), Ronald Reagan (Kariobangi Sharks), Alphonse Washe (Bandari), Hamid Mohammed (Bandari), Danson Kiprono (Zoo), Ian Simiyu (Nzoia Sugar), Austine Odhiambo (AFC Leopards), Mwakio Kisaka (Riruta United), Timothy Ouma (Nairobi City Stars), Telvin Maina (Kisumu All-Stars), Arnold Onyango (USA)
Benson Omala (Gor Mahia), Henry Meja (Tusker), Stephen Otieno (Bongonaya), Kappen Samuel (Liberty), Sellasie Otieno (Liberty), Unaiz Shajani (Starfield Elite FC)