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CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup

Cecafa Challenge Cup: Kenya under pressure to defend title – Kimanzi

2:03 AM EST 12/7/19
Francis Kimanzi takes over Harambee Stars.
The Kenyan coach insists they will strive to retain their trophy when the tournament kicks-off in Kampala on Sunday

Harambee Stars coach Francis Kimanzi had admitted Kenya will be under a lot of pressure to defend the Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup in Uganda.

The Kenyan side arrived safely in Kampala on Friday ahead of the two-week regional competition which will kick-off on Saturday in Jinja.

Harambee Stars are the defending champions having won the title in Kenya in 2017 after beating Zanzibar on post-match penalties. The team has now been pooled in Group B alongside Tanzania, Zanzibar and Sudan.

Speaking to Goal on arriving in Kampala, Kimanzi now says they will strive to retain the title so as to cap the year with success.

“We have enjoyed adequate preparations and the boys are ready and raring to go,” Kimanzi told Goal. “We have a chance of defending our title. We will, of course, be under pressure but that is the nature of football.”

“This tournament is also an avenue for us to give new players a chance. We have Afcon and World Cup qualifiers coming up next year so it’s important we see who we can involve in the senior team.”

Kenya will face Tanzania in the opening match on Sunday. Uganda, Burundi, Somalia, Djibouti, and Eritrea have all been pooled in Group A.

The top two teams in each group will proceed to the semi-finals, slated for Tuesday, December 17, in Kampala after which the final and the third-place play-off will be played on Thursday, December 19.

Final Squad

Goalkeepers: Timothy Odhiambo (Ulinzi Stars), Samuel Odhiambo (Western Stima).

Defenders: Johnstone Omurwa (Wazito), Joash Onyango (Gor Mahia), Daniel Sakari (Kariobangi Sharks), Andrew Juma (Mathare United), David Owino (Mathare United), Samuel Olwande (Kariobangi Sharks).

Midfielders: Anthony Wambani (Vasalunds IF), Roy Okal (Mathare United), Kenneth Muguna (Gor Mahia), Musa Masika (Wazito), Abdallah Hassan (Bandari), Moses Mudavadi (Kakamega Homeboyz), Lawrence Juma (Gor Mahia), Whyvone Isuza (AFC Leopards), Kevin Kimani (Mathare United), Cliffton Miheso (Gor Mahia).

Forwards: Oscar Wamalwa (Ulinzi Stars), Timothy Otieno (Tusker).