The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Big Challenge Ahead for Kenya in Cecafa Showdown

Kenya's Harambee Stars face an uphill task to reach the knock out stages of this years Tusker Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup. They were handed a tough draw that will pit them against hosts and two time defending champions Uganda Cranes, Africa Cup of Nations bound Ethiopia and tournament debutants South Sudan.

Stars who have suffered the ignominy of being eliminated at the group stages in the last two tournaments will now have to contend with two of the regions highest ranked teams in a group where the top two teams reach the last eight as well as the two best third placed finishers from the three groups.

They will play their opening match against Uganda on November 24. Stars are currently in camp for tomorrow's international friendly with Tanzania at the CCM Kirumba Stadium in Mwanza.

The team has been boosted by the arrivals of Patrick Osiako from Israel, Jerry Santos of Azam, Brian Mandela from Santos in South Africa as coach Henri Michel held his second session yesterday .

R.C. Genk forward Ayub Timbe, Auxerre forward Dennis Oliech and Patrick Oboya are also in the squad fro tomorrow's match. Glasgow Celtic midfielder Victor Wanyana and Norway's Ullensaker/Kisa IL goalkeeper Arnold Origi are not available. Instead Michel has called up Ulinzi goalkeeper Jackton Odhiambo.

This will be Michel's second match in charge since taking over as Kenyan Coach. Michel retains most of the s players who did duty for Kenya againt the South Africa last month losing 2-1 to the Bafana Bafana.

The overseas based players are however, not expected to feature in the Cecafa tournament. "We are taking the match as well as the two tournaments (Cecafa and African championship) seriously.

We are grateful for the invitation from our neighbours and we are confident of good results,"said Football Kenya Federation boss Sam Nyamweya.

Stars depart for Mwanza this morning and will hold a training session at the Mwanza Stadium upon arrival. The Tanzania Football Federation have announced the match will kick of at 4pm tomorrow.

Harambee Stars return on Thursday with players scheduled to play in the weekend's FKF Cup semi finals between AFC Leopards, Gor Mahia, Tusker and Sofapaka released to their respective clubs.

Cecafa draw

Group "A": Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia and South Sudan. Group "B": Sudan, Tanzania, Burundi and Somalia. Group "C": Rwanda, Zanzibar, Eritrea and Malawi.

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