Leopards pip under 20 team in friendly

Thursday, November 19th, 2020 00:00 | By
Henry Meja of Rising Stars (left) vies for the ball against AFC Leopards’ Said Juma during a friendly build-up match at Kasarani Stadium yesterday. PD/RODGERS NDEGWA

Rodgers Ndegwa

National under 20 football team, Rising Stars’ head coach Stanley Okumbi is confident of posting positive results in the coming Council of East and Central Africa Football Association (Cecafa) tournament set to kick off on November 27 in Tanzania.

Okumbi who named his final traveling squad after an entertaining friendly match that pitted the youngsters against premier league side AFC Leopards, said the boys had showed character in their preparation for the regional competition and tipped them to rule the roost in the two-weeks competition.

During yesterday’s friendly duel with Ingwe at the Kasarani Stadium, they narrowly lost 3-2 as they completed a serious of build-up matches.

They had initially beaten South Sudan twice in similar build-up matches last week.

Stars were the first to find the back of the net through speedy forward Emoni Tanui who managed to outsmart the Leopards defenders on the left wing before firing a thunderbolt past the helpless goalkeeper in the early minutes of the match.

They joy was, however, short-lived as the 12 times league champions leveled the scores through an unmarked Austin Odiambo before highly rated forward Elvis Rupia added the second goal to put the scoreline at 2-1 by the end of first half.

On resumption, stars went on a rampage in search of an equaliser and their efforts were rewarded after they were awarded a penalty that Selassie Otieno comfortably converted to make it 2-2.

However, the coach Thomas Trucha led side would have the last laugh as they netted the third and final goal of the match through former Jericho All Stars and Sofapaka forward Hansel Ochieng.

Speaking after the match Okumbi said the squad was more than prepared to take on the challenge that is before them and bring the bragging rights home.

“I am very hopeful this time round that I have a formidable team that can post very good results and lift the cup despite the levels of competition in the tournament.

Last year we lost to Tanzania in the finals and I’m very confident of a win this time round,” said Okumbi.

Gor Mahia forward Benson Omala who missed a chance to play in the senior team despite being called up for the crucial Africa Cup of Nations Group G match against Comoros said he is ready to make an impact with the junior team.

“ Morale in the camp is very high and we are hopeful that with the intense training sessions that we have been having and the several friendly matches that they have played, the team is ready to conquer the lucrative tournament,” noted Omala.

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