Kenya/Djibouti: Confident Kenya Face Tiny Djibouti in U-23 Cup Opener

Kenya coach Stanley Okumbi is optimistic that his Premier League experienced squad will have little trouble in beating minnows Djibouti in their opening Group "C" match of the Cecafa Under-23 Challenge Cup at the Bahir Dar Stadium in Bahir, northern Ethiopia on Sunday.

The match kicks off at 4pm. It will be preceded by a tough Pool "A" clash pitting defending champions Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo from 1pm.

Kenya aka Emerging Stars landed in Bahir on Thursday after a 490km haul from Addis Ababa and have had just three dies to acclimatize before beginning their campaign.

Okumbi said his boys had familiarized themselves with the local conditions and were ready to hit the ground running against the tiny Hort of Africa nation.

"Everything has been going on well since we arrived here. In our game against Djibouti, we will give our maximum, our best and I'm definitely hopeful we will get the best," Okumbi told Nation Sport on phone from Bahir.

Former Mathare United coach Salim Ali is Emerging Stars assistant coach while the team captain is . Wazito defender Bernard Ochieng'.

Okumbi can sit pretty knowing his trio of strikers Henry Meja , Alfred Tanui and Benson Omalla can deliver.

Meja is Tusker's top scorer in the league this season with 11 strikers, Tanui is second leading scorer in the National Super League with a plunder of 12 goals while Gor's Omalla has shown exciting promise.

Kenya will be looking to get to a step further by surpassing the semi -final finish of their counterparts, Rising Stars in the Cecafa Under-20 Championship held last November in Tanzania.

Rising Stars, whose players incidentally make up the bulk of the Kenya Under-23 squad , were edged out 3-1 by Uganda in the semi-finals.

Okumbi can also look to Tusker's Boniface Muchiri, Posta Rangers' Josephat Lopaga and City Stars Oliver Maloba to man the midfield.

Gor Mahia goalkeeper Caleb Omondi is expected to stand between the sticks.

Kenya will next face South Sudan on Thursday from 1pm.

Pool "A" consists of Uganda, Tanzania and DR Congo while Pool "B" has hosts Ethiopia, Burundi and Eritrea.

Pool winners and the best placed group runner-up will proceed to the semi-finals on July 28 with the final slated for July 30.

All matches are being played behind close doors in line with Covid-19.

On Saturday, Ethiopia and Eritrea battled to a 3-3 draw in the opening Group "B"match.

Played Saturday:

Pool B - Ethiopia 3 Eritrea 3

Playing Sunday:

Pool A - Uganda v DR Congo (Bahir Dar Stadium, 1pm)

Pool C - Djibouti v Kenya (Bahir Dar Stadium, 4pm )

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