No injury concerns for Kenya as CECAFA U18 enters crucial stage

Tuesday, December 5th, 2023 01:20 | By
Kenya’s Tyron Kariuki against Rwanda’s Ndayishimiye Barthazar. PHOTO/FKF
Kenya’s Tyron Kariuki against Rwanda’s Ndayishimiye Barthazar. PHOTO/FKF

After six days of gruelling Group stage matches, the CECAFA U18 tournament reaches the crucial phase with two semi-final matches set to take place today at the Mambo Leo Sports Ground in Kisumu.

Hosts Kenya, who displayed a fantastic performance in Pool A matches, are scheduled to face Tanzania, who finished second in Group B with four points, securing their spot following a draw against Zanzibar.

For Kenya, this game poses a significant challenge compared to their previous opponents, Somalia, Rwanda, and Sudan. The Junior Stars’ camp is filled with optimism ahead of the Tanzania tie, displaying convincing performances in the last three games.

Coach Salim Babu noted on Friday that they are not afraid of any opponent in the last four of the competition and are eager to break the jinx of winning the elusive regional junior title.

“It will be a different game altogether; this is the knockout stage and the approach to the game could change. We have no injury concerns, and every player is ready. We expect a difficult game, but we are more than ready to face the challenge,” said Salim Babu to People Sport.

“I would like to thank the government and Football Kenya Federation for the great support thus far. Coordination has been superb, and we are grateful. We do not feel pressured being labeled as favorites to win the trophy, although we have to put in more effort to achieve our target. The boys have high morale, and Kenyans have high expectations of us,” he added.

In the first semi-final of the day at the Mambo Leo Sports Ground, Uganda, who lost their opening game 1-0 against Tanzania on match day two, will face a resilient Rwanda.

Uganda, facing an elimination scare, finished top of Group B with six points after a 2-0 victory against South in their third game.

On the other hand, Rwanda won two games in Group A against Somalia (1-0) and Sudan (3-1). The Kigali boys had suffered a narrow 1-0 defeat against host Kenya in match day two of the tournament.
The winners today will advance to the final set for Friday afternoon in Kisumu, while the losers will face each other in a playoff game to determine the third and fourth-place positions.

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