The team largely comprises of players who featured for the Kenya U17 team at the 2019 Africa U17 Cup of Nations qualifiers, and the Union of North African Federations (Unaf) U17 tournament in Egypt in 2019.
Among them are Maxwell Mulili, Bixente Otieno, Boniface Mwangemi, Alphonse Omija, Nicholas Omondi, Keith Imbali, Telvin Maina, and Arnold Onyango.
Chapa Dimba na Safaricom hotshots Enoch Wanyama and Benson Omala have also been included in the team. 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 the best runner-up.
Initially, there were doubts about whether the qualifiers would be played owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, a recent meeting by member associations unanimously agreed the matches should continue.
“During the Cecafa Executive Committee meeting held in Arusha on Saturday 10th October 2020, the decision to go ahead with the U17 and U20 Afcon Qualifiers was reached,” Cecafa confirmed in a statement obtained by Goal.
In the Cecafa region, Tanzanian football has been ongoing since June 13 while Uganda is set to start the 2020/21 season in early November, while Kenya has a proposal to start the season from November 20 after the games were postponed in mid-March.
Rising Stars Squad; Goalkeepers; Maxwell Mulili (AFC Leopards), Bixente Otieno (Wazito), Elvis Ochieng (City Stars).
Defenders: 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 (Kakamega High School), Steiner Musasia (Talanta), Nicholas Omondi (Gor Mahia), Keith Imbali (Gor Mahia Youth).
Midfielders: 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).
Forwards: Benson Omala (Gor Mahia), Henry Meja (Tusker), Stephen Otieno (Bongonaya), Kappen Samuel (Liberty), Sellasie Otieno (Nzoia Sugar), Unaiz Shajani (Starfield Elite FC).