Kenya/Djibouti: Tusker Head to Djibouti As CAF Champs League Return Looms

7 September 2021

Kenyan champions Tusker leave for Djibouti Wednesday ahead of the first leg of their Caf Champions League preliminary tie against Arta Solar on Saturday at Stade du Ville.

A contingent of 29 including players and members of the technical bench head to Djibouti at 5am Wednesday morning aboard an Ethiopian Airline to Addis Ababa, before connecting via the same airline to the tiny country in an accumulated four-hour flight journey.

The moneyed Djibouti side is home to former Arsenal and Barcelona midfielder Alex Song, who joined the club on November 20 last year.

The brewers will host the second leg of the tie on September 18 with the winner qualifying for the first round to to take on Egyptian giants Zamalek next month.

After emerging domestic champions in 2016, Tusker participated in the Caf Champions League the following year, but were eliminated in the preliminary stage by Port-Louis of Mauritius 3-2 on aggregate.

Tusker have had a one-week intensive training in Mombasa to acclamatise with the hot weather which is the similar to the one in Djibouti.

Fresh from playing for Harambee Stars in their 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifiers against Rwanda and Uganda, Tusker captain Eugene Asike told Nation Sport is relishing the chance to meet Song and getting a win over the Djibouti champions.

"Song is one of the most talented players and he made a name at Arsenal and Barcelona. It is an honour to play against him. However, much focus is not on him, but how we shall collectively fight to get a win and if not, a fair result which will make our job easier back at home," said Asike after Tusker's training session at Ruaraka grounds.

"We have talented players in our squad and we are determined to get an away goal," he added. Tusker has parted ways with 12 players, the latest being their leading goal scorer in the last campaign, Henry Meja.

The 19-year-old forward joined Swedish top flight club AIK on a five-year contract last Friday.

The brewers have been reinforcing their squad for the continental assignment and the new Football Kenya Federation Premier League season.

They have roped in former Gor Mahia centre-back Charles Momanyi, Harambee Stars goalkeeper Patrick Matasi from St Georges of Ethiopia and Tanzanian duo of Kalos Kirenge and Joshua Ibrahim.

Former Leopards midfielder Cylide Senaji and Ulinzi Stars forward John Njuguna have also moved to Ruaraka.

Among the players who have been shown the door are forwards Luke Namanda and 2018 Most Valuable Player Award Winner Mike Madoya. Attacking duo of Chris Ochieng' and Chrispinus Onyango, Ugandan defender Rodgers Aloro, Brian Marita, Faraj Ominde, custodian Robert Mboya, Sammy Meja, and Eric Ambunya.

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