Kenya-Under 20 striker Benson Omala has urged his team mates to be wary of a strong Ugandan side as the two teams clash in the semi-final of the Cecafa Under 20 Championship at Black Rhino Academy in Karatu, Arusha Monday.
The match kicks off at midday and will be followed by another mouthwatering encounter between South Sudan and defending champions Tanzania.
A win for the Rising Stars will not only ensure they qualify for the finals of the championship for a second consecutive year, but will also give them a direct ticket for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations Under-20 finals slated for Mauritania.
Omala, who scored at death in their 2-1 win against Sudan on Friday, says the team has to be at its best to dislodge Uganda, who beat Burundi 6-1, and held an impressive South Sudan to a barren draw in their Group B matches.
"We have to be at our best to win against Uganda because our dream is to qualify for next year's Afcon. We have won our two group matches, but that won't count if we lose to Uganda. Today's match is the toughest test we have to deal with since this competition started," said the 18-year-old-Form Four student at Kisumu Day.
The Gor Mahia teenage sensation is so far the Rising Stars' top scorer with two goals. He netted in Kenya's 3-0 win against Ethiopia in their Group C opener.
"We have had vigorous training sessions and watched how Uganda has been playing in the competition. Our coach (Stanley Okumbi) has instructed us to fight and score early goals. For sure, Uganda will be a tough opponent but we don't fear them as we have also prepared well," added Omalla.
His sentiments were supported by the team's captain, Nicholas Omondi, who also turns out for Gor Mahia.
"Last year we reached the finals and that was our aim when we came to participate in this competition. We are just one game away from qualifying for the Afcon and that is why we have to beat Uganda today as we soldier on our quest to lift the title," said the 19-year-old Gor Mahia midfielder.
Coach Stanley Okumbi is expected to maintain most players who have featured in the two group C matches which were played at the Sheikh Amri Abeid stadium.
In the 2019 edition, Kenya knocked out Eritrea 1-0 in the semis before losing out to Tanzania by the same margin in the finals in Uganda.